By Eromosele Patrick Eidusi
Canadian Shoe Company, Aldo has agreed to acquire the footwear and accessories operations of the Camuto Group, a company founded by the late fashion impresario, Vince Camuto, who died in 2015.
The takeover will give Aldo, which makes its own shoes and sells them in thousands of stores around the world, a bigger footprint at a moment when fashion brands are seeking growth through mergers and acquisitions.
Terms of the deal, which was confirmed by the companies, were not made public.
“This will create a very impressive, large and scaled footwear operation,” said William Susman, Managing director at Thread stone, a boutique investment bank that specializes in consumer and retail transactions but is not involved in the deal. “And given trends in retail, I believe that benefits accrue to those with scale.”
Aldo’s takeover of the Vince Camuto brand is the latest transaction to reshape the fashion industry. Not quite long, Michael Kors said it would acquire Jimmy Choo for about $1.2 billion. And in May, Coach agreed to pay $2.4 billion to acquire Kate Spade.
Aldo, based in Montreal, was founded in 1972 by Aldo Bensadoun, the “son of a shoe merchant, grandson of a cobbler,” according to the company’s website.
Mr. Bensadoun, now 78, has retired and the company is run by his son, David. But the elder Mr. Bensadoun is still involved in the business. Earlier this year, he took the first meeting with representatives from the Camuto Group to discuss a deal.
Aldo opened its first store in the United States in 1993, and now sells shoes in more than 3,000 locations worldwide. The company says that it employs more than 20,000 people and that more than 200 million people visit its stores each year. David Bensadoun, Aldo’s chief executive, said the company has about $1.5 billion in sales annually.
The Camuto Group was founded by Mr. Camuto, a quiet force in the Fashion industry who founded the women’s footwear chain Nine West, and has collaborated with banana republic, BCBG and more. The Vince Camuto Brand sells men’s and women’s shoes, bags, clothing and accessories. The Camuto Group, based in Greenwich, Conn., also produces shoes and apparel for brands including the Jessica simpson Collection, Tory Burch and lucky Brand Jeans. Mr Camuto’s family will continue to own and operate the apparel business.
Aldo has been on the Hunt for a way to expand, said David Bensadoun.
“We’ve been looking for an acquisition target for 18 months, and Camuto was the best fit,” he said.
Mr. Bensadoun said the company intended to keep the brands separate, so there are no plans to sell Vince Camuto items in Aldo stores.
For the Camuto Group, the deal is a chance for the family to cash out. Mr. Camuto’s five children inherited the business after his death, and they were not interested in operating the company.
“We had a shareholder base that really wasn’t involved in the business,” said Alex Del Cielo, the chief executive of the Camuto Group, who will remain in his role and report to Mr. Bensadoun. “It was an opportunity for them to move on from the business and monetize their assets.”
Even as Aldo expands with this deal, Mr. Bensadoun said the company had no ambitions to join the ranks of the publicity traded fashion houses seeking additional growth though deal-making.
“We will never go public, “he said.
Photo credit: New York Times