In the business sphere, it’s not just the IPO market that’s being disrupted by the partial government shutdown.
Apparel group VF Corp., which owns Vans and The North Face, revealed Friday that its plans to split itself into two separate companies could be delayed by the shutdown, now in its fourth week and the longest in history.
In order to complete the deal, the plans have to be approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is running on a skeleton staff as hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain furloughed amid the standoff between President Trump and Congress over funds for a border wall.
Even when the SEC is running again, companies are bracing themselves for delays as staff will have to wade through a mounting pile of filings that have not been reviewed during the shutdown.
“We filed the initial Form 10 registration statement with the SEC in mid-December. We remain on track for a public filing in early March. However, the government shutdown has the potential to delay the public filing,” Joe Alkire, VF’s vice president of investor relations, told analysts during a call.
The deal involves spinning off its jeans and outlet businesses in a tax-free transaction, which will be called Kontoor and stay in North Carolina.
VF, meanwhile, will move to Denver and build off a multibillion-dollar revenue base, including The North Face, Timberland, JanSport, Smartwool, Altra and Eagle Creek. In a break from tradition, these will be produced in a separate plant to Kontoor’s brands.
“Kontoor has in Wrangler and Lee two of the most iconic brands in America. We’ve got a very experienced management team. We’ve got a supply chain that’s been their historical strength and it’s evolving to be in line with where this brand sees itself going,” said Steven Rendle chairman, president and chief executive officer.
“We need to look more long-term on what the brand — what the suite of brands is capable of — as we move through the work we’re doing to prepare these brands to be stood up as their own separate public company.”
The comments regarding the shutdown came as VF unveiled a strong holiday period — a bright spot among a growing number of worse-than-expected performances.
It saw third-quarter net income of $463.5 million, or $1.16 per share, compared with a loss of $90.3 million, or 23 cents per share, last year. Net revenue came in at $3.94 billion, up 8 percent and topping Wall Street expectations for a figure of $3.87 billion. Within that, Vans was its strongest asset, with revenue growing 25 percent.
As a result, it increased its full-year outlook from $3.65 per share to $3.73, while its full-year revenue forecast was nudged up by $100 million to $13.8 billion.
“VF’s third-quarter results were fueled by strong growth in our largest brands and balanced growth across the core dimensions of our portfolio,” added Rendle.
On Thursday, reports emerged that the company was considering buying shoe brand Skechers USA Inc. for $40 a share — or about $5.6 billion.
When asked about it during the investors’ call, Rendle told one analyst: “When you read things in the news like that you don’t necessarily always have to believe rumors.”
He did, however, add that M&A continues to be its “number-one choice” about capital allocation.
VF’s stock was up 12.4 percent to $82.34.