Despite fashion-related mergers and acquisition moving at a brisk clip, Bogner, the 83-year-old family-owned Munich brand, is no longer on the block.
Owner and chief executive Willy Bogner issued a statement Wednesday saying the company plans to remain private. He said, “During some time, speculations could be read in the media about a possible sale of Bogner, the sports fashion company. Many potential investors worldwide showed serious interest.”
Bogner decided not to sell at this time and continue the brand’s worldwide expansion with his own team, the statement read. The company’s namesake “looked at all options for the continuation of the company and decided not to sell,” a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.
In August 2014, Bogner hired Goldman Sachs & Co. to scout out a buyer for its $321 million business. Executives at Bogner’s corporate headquarters in Germany and at Goldman Sachs in Europe and New York declined comment at that time, and management remained silent about any advancements in talks.
Given the high demand among private equity firms in the U.S. as well as sovereign funds in Asia and the Middle East for luxury brands, the company was expected to garner a decent price, according to industry observers last summer. There were also rumblings of a potential initial public offering for the company.
Bogner currently has 81 freestanding stores worldwide — 18 of its own stores, 52 partner stores and 11 outlet stores. In addition to the corporate office in Germany, the company has Bogner of America, a subsidiary in Williston, Vt. Founded as a skiwear company in 1932 by Willy Bogner Sr., who competed in the 1936 Winter Olympics, the brand has expanded considerably into other categories, thanks to his son Willy Bogner Jr. Before offshore production wiped out U.S. manufacturing, the company had a Vermont factory that employed hundreds.
The younger Bogner, an Olympic skier in his own right in the 1960 and 1964 Winter Games, joined the company in his hometown of Munich in 1972. He expanded the business substantially beyond skiwear, following his father’s death in 1977. The brand is now sold in 35 countries with an export ratio of 50 percent. Bogner oversees 800-plus employees worldwide, the bulk of whom are based in Germany.
Willy Bogner, who is also an accomplished filmmaker and photographer, and his wife Sônia, a former model, met while working together on the set of a Bogner fashion shoot in 1972. After their marriage, Sônia Bogner became increasingly involved in the business. The Sônia Bogner label, which made its debut in 1992, is aimed at intercontinental women and is one of the strongest performing labels under the Bogner umbrella. Other offerings include Bogner label; Bogner skiwear, sportswear and activewear for women, men and children; Bogner Golf, and Fire + Ice. Jeans, men’s shirts, ski equipment, watches and shoes are among the brand’s licenses.