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Wolverine Worldwide Continues to Simplify Business Model


The Saucony and Merrell parent continues to simplify its business model under Chris Hufnagel, president, and CEO, with two more divestitures designed to reduce its cost structure and strengthen its balance sheet. Wolverine will generate $70 million from its decision to exit its joint venture in China with Xtep Intl. and another $9 million from the sale of its Asia-based Wolverine Leathers business to one of the company’s material vendors. Earlier in 2023, the company sold Keds to Designer Brands for more than $90 million and generated nearly $59 million from shedding its Hush Puppies intellectual property in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Xtep Intl. is paying Wolverine $61 million for its share of a joint venture that the two companies established in 2019 for the distribution of the Saucony and Merrell brands in Greater China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Additionally, due to the early success and profitability of the Saucony brand in China, Wolverine’s deal includes the acceleration of an existing option to sell a minority ownership in the entity that owns the Saucony intellectual property in China to Xtep.

Under terms of the transaction expected to close before Jan. 1, Xtep will source the products launched for the Saucony and Merrell brands by Wolverine Worldwide but also design and develop customized collections that cater to Chinese consumers. This special assortment currently accounts for about 50 percent of the brands’ revenues in China.