News > Companies
Converse gets a buyer
March 12, 2001: 6:39 p.m. ET

Private investment group in for footwear and apparel maker for $117.5 million
graphic graphic
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The famous Chuck Taylor sneaker won't be confined to the closet of history, as Footwear Acquisition Inc. announced its intent to buy all the assets of bankrupt shoemaker Converse Inc. for about $117.5 million in cash.

The companies said Monday they are in discussions following a review by creditors and legal advisers. Footwear acquisition is led by private investors Marsden Cason, William Simon, who took apparel maker North Face public in 1996.

"We are pleased to be dealing with two industry veterans who propose to continue building our brand in the United States and abroad through our licensee partners around the world," said Glenn N. Rupp, chairman and CEO of Converse.

graphicConverse filed for bankruptcy in January and announced restructuring plans, including closing North American plants and becoming an exclusive licensee for Converse products made overseas.

The North Reading, Mass.-based company lost $5.4 million, or 31 cents a share, in the third quarter ending Oct. 2, the most recent period for which it has released results, as sales fell 22 percent from the year earlier period.

While competitors such as Nike and Reebok built their brands around today's top athletes, Converse' signature sneaker is the Chuck Taylor All-Star, named for basketball pioneer born in 1901 who played before there were established leagues. It did have some modern players endorsing its products, including Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz, and some high-profile "legends" endorsers such as Larry Bird and Julius Erving.

The deal is still subject to approval of bankruptcy court, which is expected around March 19, 2001.

-- from staff and wire reports graphic