Schwartz and Benjamin

Steve Madden Ltd (Nasdaq: SHOO) has purchased Schwartz & Benjamin Inc., a manufacturer of branded and private label footwear, in an undisclosed cash transaction. As part of the deal, the target will operate as a stand-alone business with the current management team and employees in place.

Schwartz & Benjamin was founded in 1923 as a designer, manufacturer and distributor of women’s shoes. The target sells footwear products to wholesale customers such as department stores, boutiques, retail stores and also brand partners. Schwartz & Benjamin licenses multiple brands, including: Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice and Olivia and Avec Les Filles. The New York-based target generated nearly $88 million in net sales for the twelve months leading up to Dec. 31, 2016.

Steve Madden’s chief executive officer, Edward Rosenfield, says “We see opportunity to expand the business by combining Schwartz & Benjamin’s strengths – which include premier execution in the design and sourcing of high-quality footwear as well as a strong portfolio of brand partners – with our proven business model and infrastructure.”

Steve Madden, named after its founder, is a footwear and fashion accessories company grown from an investment of $1,100 in 1990. The buyer, headquartered in New York, makes products for women, men and children under its own brands, including: Steve Madden, Doce Vita, Betsey Johnson, Report, Big Buddha, Brian Atwood, Cejon, Blondo and Mad Love. Steve Madden is also in the private label manufacturing business and also licenses other brands such as Superga.

The footwear industry is no stranger to the middle-market. Recent shoe deals include: CCMP Capital Advisors LLC’s purchase of slip-resistant shoe maker Shoes for Crews; DSW Inc.’s (NYSE: DSW) deal for Ebuys Inc. to expand online and into international markets. The deal by DSW comes as the footwear retailer, along many others, is combatting the challenge of shifting consumer habits from store fronts to e-commerce. Other footwear deals include: Coach Inc.’s (NYSE: COH) completed acquisition of Stuart Weitzman for nearly $574 million; Berkshire Partners’, along with New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., acquiring the Rockport Co. from the Adidas Group (ETR: ADS) for $280 million; and Toronto-based private equity firm Lynx Equity’s purchase of North American Shoe Co.

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