Crocs Considers Ways to Go Private; Crocs has struggled amid shifting fashion tastes and tried to expand into in high-heels and boots. Crocs

Crocs Considers Ways to Go Private

Sales, Stock Price Remain Soft at Maker of Colorful Plastic Clogs

Crocs has struggled amid shifting fashion tastes and tried to expand into in high-heels and boots.


Nov. 13, 2013 12:14 p.m. ET

Crocs Inc. CROX +9.76% is trying a leveraged buyout on for size. The footwear maker, famous for its colorful plastic clogs, is considering going private, said people familiar with the matter. The company’s board has invited a small group of private-equity firms to present their ideas for a buyout, according to one of the people. The talks may go nowhere, this person cautioned.Crocs has a market capitalization of around $1.17 billion, meaning that with a typical takeover premium, a deal for the Niwot, Colo., company could have a price tag of around $1.5 billion—far from its peak about six years ago.

The popularity of Crocs’ namesake shoes skyrocketed after it was founded in 2002, and it has sold more than 200 million pairs across 90 countries since then, as beach-goers and others flocked to the novel offering. Following their public debut in early 2006, the shares soared to over $60 apiece, giving the company a market value in the neighborhood of $5 billion in 2007. But the retailer has struggled of late amid shifting fashion tastes. Sales dropped 2.4% to $288 million for the three months ending in September, while profits plunged 71% to $13 million.

As its shoes have become less popular, Crocs shares have come back to earth, and now trade for less than $13 each. In Wednesday trading, the company’s shares jumped on news of a possible buyout plan, rising more than 9% on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

It’s unclear which private-equity firms may be considering a deal for Crocs, but Blackstone Group BX +4.58% LP and KKR KKR +0.98% & Co. are among those that have looked at the company, the people said. Some buyout firms that have considered a deal for Crocs are no longer actively pursuing the company, some of the people added.

As of the end of last year, Crocs had about 4,900 full-time and other employees. The company has about 600 stores, including outlets and stores within a store.

While Crocs has been most closely associated with its colorful plastic shoes that have holes for air ventilation, the company has tried to gain traction in other areas, such as high-heeled shoes, boots, wedges and loafers. But those efforts have met with mixed success.

There has been a string of deals among shoe makers lately. Jones Group Inc.,JNY +1.93% the maker of Nine West, Stuart Weitzman and Brian Atwood shoes, is currently trying to sell itself. Earlier this month, men’s shoe retailer Allen Edmonds agreed to be sold to a private-equity buyer. And last month, buyout group Permira agreed to buy the maker of Dr. Martens.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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