Jack Wolfskin is no longer for sale. The majority shareholders, Quadriga Capital and Barclays Private Equity, have been busy trying to broker a great deal to sell the skyrocketing German brand, but apparently did not manage to get the money that they wanted.
It was said that the bidding period would end by the end of April, but in the end there was no one who would pay the requested amount of money.
Over the past weeks and months, there was loud buzz via preferred media of the investors – mainly the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland and the Reuters agency – that there was a strong line-up of potential buyers.
The story began with Adidas and Puma, two companies that never said that they were in the race to bid for the German market leader. Later on, more prominent companies leaked including the Otto Group, the big mail-order retailer; and VF Corporation, the owner of outdoor brands such as The North Face, Jansport and Eagle Creek. Another rumored bidder was Günter Herz, the heir of the Tchibo coffee company and, for a while, a major stakeholder in Puma.
Apparently, the two investment companies (a smaller share of Jack Wolfskin is with Manfred Hell, the longtime managing director and mastermind behind the fast-growing brand) wanted too much money. It is said that there were offers of more than €600 million, but the majority owners wanted more than €800 million. Certainly, that number is ambitious after the brand managed to have consolidated sales at €304 million last year.
There are different reported figures about the operating profit of Jack Wolfskin, varying from more than €20 million to about €80 million. The latter number sounds too high to our ears after “The Paw” has built its strong growth on heavy investments in franchised retailing, massive sponsoring in football and other sports events, and its expansion into markets outside Central Europe, notably in the U.K., France and the Far East.
In any case, the major investors will make their money. Quadriga and Barclays acquired their majority stake for €93 million in 2005 when Jack Wolfskin had sales of €80 million. The investors now leaked their own point of view through big publications that they did not feel any pressure to sell straight away since the brand is performing well. As of February, the pre-orders from retail customers were up by 47 percent. Therefore, Quadriga and Barclays were ready to give their investment room to move to roll out its global expansion.