Bowing to pressure from some of its shareholders, the board of directors of Deckers Brands announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. It has retained Moelis & Company as financial advisor and a legal counsel to assist in the process.
The announcement was made after another minority shareholder of Deckers called for a sale of the company, charging that it has underperformed in the past three to five years. Mountain Capital Partners, which owns 3.3 percent of the equity, complained in particular about poor capital allocation decisions by Deckers' management, adding that there was no “alignment between executive compensation and shareholder value creation.”
In early February, after the stock lost 20 percent of its value following the release of disappointing quarterly results, another investment firm that has about 6 percent of the shares, Marcato Capital Management, said it intended to engage in discussion with directors and officers of Deckers about strategic alternatives such as a sale of the whole company or some of its assets. Deckers' brands include Ugg, Sanuk, Teva and Hoka One One.
Made ahead of the release of the company's annual results at the end of next month, the announcement sent up the stock market price of Deckers, which had been weakening in tune with the company' profitability and the sales of Ugg, a brand that represents about 80 percent of its total turnover.
Two other brands in its portfolio, Teva and Sanuk, have not been performing much better. The strong progress of Hoka One One, the small brand of running shoes that Deckers recently acquired, has not been sufficient to compensate for that.
The management of Deckers has launched a $150 million cost saving program. Observers feel that a financial investor may be more interested in the group than a strategic investor as Ugg seems to have reached the limits of growth.