A consortium including Blum Capital Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) have agreed to take Collective Brands (NYSE: PSS) private in a deal valued at about $2 billion, including the assumption of debt. The $21.75 per share price represents a 104% premium. Upon completion of the deal, Blum Capital and Golden Gate will acquire the operations of value-oriented footwear retailer Payless ShoeSource and Collective Licensing International, which together will operate as a standalone entity. Meanwhile, Wolverine Worldwide will pick up Collective Brands' Performance + Lifestyle Group, which markets footwear.
Private equity investors have invested in 50 footwear-related companies since the beginning of 2005, according to the PitchBook Platform. While that doesn't quite make PE investors shoe addicts, they were particularly active in the Footwear industry last year, completing 11 investments in companies like Implus and See Kai Run. With only one deal completed so far, it like looks the industry may have gotten off on the wrong foot this year, but there's still plenty of time left in 2012 for the pace to pick up.