VF Inks Deal to Sell Reef Brand to The Rock­port Group

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY VICKI M. YOUNG

The deal is ex­pected to close later this month.

VF Corp. is sell­ing its beach-friendly

Reef brand to The Rock­port Group.

Terms of the deal, which is ex­pected to close later this month, were not dis­closed.

“Re­shap­ing VF’s brand port­fo­lio to de­liver sus­tain­able, long-term growth and su­pe­rior re­turns to share­hold­ers re­mains our top pri­or­ity,” said Steve Rendle, VF’s chair­man, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

VF is in the process of ma­jor changes and is pre­par­ing a spin- off of its jeans busi­ness, form­ing two pub­licly traded firms. Rendle de­scribed the Reef deal as an­other step to­ward de­liv­er­ing on the “com­mit­ments out­lined” in VF’s mul­ti­year busi­ness strat­egy.

Gregg Ri­batt, Rock­port’s ceo, said:

“Reef is a pow­er­ful brand with deep au­then­tic­ity and an in­cred­i­bly loyal cus­tomer base.”

Reef will con­tinue to op­er­ate as an in­de­pen­dent global brand un­der Rock­port and main­tain its Carls­bad,

Calif., head­quar­ters, ac­cord­ing to VF.

In­vest­ment bank­ing firm PJ Solomon was the fi­nan­cial ad­viser to VF on the deal, while Davis Polk was VF’s le­gal ad­viser.

The deal for Reef is Rock­port’s first since it was ac­quired by Charles­bank Cap­i­tal Part­ners for $150 mil­lion in Au­gust. Rock­port had filed for Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy court pro­tec­tion in May, with about $287 mil­lion in debt.

Ri­batt was named ceo in Au­gust and bank­ing sources in the footwear sec­tor be­lieve that un­der his lead­er­ship, Rock­port will be on the hunt for more brands. He is a sea­soned footwear ex­ec­u­tive, and has worked at firms such as Crocs, Stu­art Weitz­man and Col­lec­tive Brands.

Reef was founded in 1984 by two brothers, Fer­nando and San­ti­ago Aguerre. The first prod­uct was a san­dal for the surf travel and beach cul­ture. While san­dals are still a key com­po­nent of the men’s line, ap­parel — Ts and board shorts — are a grow­ing com­po­nent. The men’s footwear line in­cludes the Fan­ning Low, its san­dal that has a bot­tle opener on the un­der­side of the sole. For women, the footwear line in­cludes flats, ca­sual footwear and boots. The com­pany also of­fers a san­dal line for kids.

The Reef Es­cape mar­ble printcol­lec­tion.

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