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.