Footwear company Rockport rescued from Chapter 11

Struggling footwear retailer Rockport Group has been rescued from Chapter 11 bankruptcy by private equity company Charlesbank Capital Partners.

Subject to approval by the US Bankruptcy Court of Delaware, Charlesbank’s subsidiary CB Marathon will acquire substantially all of Rockport’s assets, including the global wholesale, independent and e-commerce operations and all of its Asian and European operations and retail stores. However, as part of its ongoing Chapter 11 process, Rockport has begun the orderly wind down of its North American retail operations, which will be completed by July 31.

Boston-headquartered Rockport has been designing and selling mens and womens footwear since 1971, its product range skewed to outdoor sports shoes. The company said in a statement the sale to Charlesbank “will enable Rockport to ensure the continuation of its deep heritage and great brands and enhance its focus on its global wholesale, independent and e-commerce businesses”.

“Throughout this process and following the sale to Charlesbank, Rockport customers can continue to shop Rockport’s… brands and diverse assortment of footwear at leading department stores and specialty retailers around the world, as well as through the company’s e-commerce platform.”

The company said the financial strength of Charlesbank will better position Rockport in today’s evolving retail landscape. Following the sale, Rockport will have significantly less debt which will help position it for growth.

Charlesbank was named as the so-called “stalking horse bidder” during Rockport’s court-supervised sale process under the Bankruptcy Code. However, the court required an open bidding process before approving the takeover offer.

After the bidding deadline last Friday, Rockport talked to “a number of potential buyers” but did not receive any bids competitive with Charlesbank’s so a proposed auction was cancelled.

Alvarez & Marsal served as restructuring advisor through the process.

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