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Blackstone boosts Crocs with $200m investment

29 Jan 2014

Global investment firm Blackstone Group has acquired $200m of newly issued stock in Nasdaq-listed footwear company Crocs.

Blackstone is expected to help turnaround the business, which has suffered from lower consumer spending in the wake of the financial crisis.

As part of the deal the Crocs has added Blackstone senior managing director Prakash Melwani and former Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group CEO Gregg Ribatt to its board of directors. The company has also accepted the resignation of board members Stephen Cannon and Jeffrey Margolis.

Since its inception in 2002, Crocs has sold more than 200 million pairs of shoes in more than 90 countries around the world

Crocs said it intends to use the proceeds to fund the previously announced $350m stock repurchase.

“The willingness of Steve and Jeff to resign voluntarily from our board in order to accommodate new directors associated with Blackstone’s investment demonstrates their professionalism and commitment to Crocs,” said Thomas Smach, Crocs chairman of the board. “They have served the company’s shareholders well, and on behalf of the board, I would like to thank them for their service. We are sad to bid them farewell and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

“We welcome Prakash and Gregg to our board and are confident they will add a great deal of value through their branded consumer goods, retail, and financial experience. Although Blackstone’s investment will represent approximately 13 per cent ownership at closing, we believe our company, shareholders, and employees will benefit from 100 per cent of Blackstone’s focus, global resources, and expertise. This transaction provides a fantastic opportunity for our shareholders to participate alongside Blackstone and benefit from its efforts to deliver compelling shareholder value.

“With the closing of the transaction and the appointment of our two new directors, we can now turn our attention to recruiting a new CEO and moving forward with refining the strategic direction of the Crocs business.”

Melwani is CIO of Blackstone’s private equity group and chairs each of its investment committees. He currently serves as a director of Acushnet Company, Kosmos Energy, Performance Food Group, Pinnacle Foods, RGIS Inventory Specialists, and Blackstone strategic partner, Patria.

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