Cole Haan Pulls IPO as Market Soars

Cole Haan was so early to the IPO party that it missed it entirely. 

The company told the Securities and Exchange Commission it had “determined not to proceed with the proposed initial public offering,” but also left the door open just a smidge, reserving the right to apply the SEC fees it paid for “future use.” Cole Haan did not immediately respond to a WWD query about why it abandoned the offering.

Private equity firm Apax Partners, which bought Cole Haan from Nike Inc. in 2013, filed to take the business public in February last year — as the coronavirus was hitting China hard, but was still something of a distant concern in the West. 

The initial filing painted a picture of a company on the move — a “90-year-old start-up” that had both heritage and hipness and had been reconfigured as a stand-alone operation. Profits in 2019 had increased 43.4 percent to $33.1 million with revenues up 14.1 percent to $686.6 million.

There was a tinge of worry, though. 

When Cole Haan first came to the market, it warned that, “The outbreak of the coronavirus in Greater China could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition” and pointed out that some of its goods are made in China. 

Soon after, COVID-19 went global, hitting most brands and retailers hard. 

It’s not clear just how well Cole Haan has fared as the crisis reset the industry, but Wall Street has continued to push higher as Washington has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy. 

That has sparked a mini rush of IPOs just as Cole Haan is bowing out. 

Thrift platform Poshmark Inc. and luxury e-commerce site Mytheresa have both staged IPOs this month that saw warm welcomes from investors. Dr. Martens is planning its own offering in London. 

And that’s not the only footwear brand on the move. Adidas looking to offload Reebok and Birkenstock is said to be in sale talks with CVC and Permira. 

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