ROCKFORD, Mich., Sept. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW) today announced the sale of assets associated with its United States Department of Defense (DoD) contract business and the transfer of outstanding DoD contracts to Original Footwear. Original is a Tennessee-based footwear manufacturer specializing in products for the Department of Defense under the Altama® brand. The company also owns Original S.W.A.T®, and Ro-Search® brands. This sale will improve the future viability of the Big Rapids factory operations. Original qualifies as a "small business" under Small Business Administration regulations, which allows the company access to a significant number of contracts not available to "large" corporations like Wolverine Worldwide. The sale is effective September 29, 2017.
Included in this sale is Wolverine Worldwide's Big Rapids, Michigan factory, which is one of the largest producers of footwear to the United States military. Over the last several years, the Company has invested significantly in the factory and its future, through facility expansion and machinery. Original Footwear will become a footwear supplier to Wolverine Worldwide for certain products currently made in the Big Rapids factory. Wolverine will retain the Bates brand and will continue to operate the Bates civilian and military exchange business.
"The sale to Original Footwear will provide the opportunity for the Big Rapids factory to compete for Department of Defense contracts set aside for small businesses," said, Blake Krueger, Wolverine's chairman, chief executive officer and president. "We firmly believe that the sale of the Big Rapids factory and the DoD business to Original Footwear is in the best interest of the Big Rapids operations. With new ownership, we feel the factory is better positioned to win additional contracts that will retain important manufacturing jobs for the community."
Wolverine continues to make significant progress toward its Wolverine WAY FORWARD strategic transformation, and this sale is part of the Company's ongoing effort to improve near-term performance while building a foundation for the future.
ABOUT WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE
With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is one of the world's leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children's and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Merrell®, Sperry®, Hush Puppies®, Saucony®, Wolverine®, Keds®, Stride Rite®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST®, and Soft Style®. The Company also is the global footwear licensee of popular brands including Cat® and Harley-Davidson®. The Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 200 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit, www.wolverineworldwide.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding: the Company's strategic plans, the consummation of the transactions contemplated by the announced transaction and the Company's realization of the benefits of the announced agreement. In addition, words such as "guidance," "estimates," "anticipates," "believes," "forecasts," "step," "plans," "predicts," "projects," "is likely," "expects," "intends," "should," "will," "confident," variations of such words, and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties, and assumptions ("Risk Factors") that are difficult to predict with regard to timing, extent, likelihood, and degree of occurrence. Risk Factors include, among others: the transactions contemplated by the agreement may not be consummated, the Company may not realize the expected benefits of the announced agreement, changes in general economic conditions, employment rates, business conditions, interest rates, tax policies and other factors affecting consumer spending in the markets and regions in which the Company's products are sold; the inability for any reason to effectively compete in global footwear, apparel and consumer-direct markets; the inability to maintain positive brand images and anticipate, understand and respond to changing footwear and apparel trends and consumer preferences; the inability to effectively manage inventory levels; increases or changes in duties, tariffs, quotas or applicable assessments in countries of import and export; foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; currency restrictions; capacity constraints, production disruptions, quality issues, price increases or other risks associated with foreign sourcing; the cost and availability of raw materials, inventories, services and labor for owned and contract manufacturers; labor disruptions; changes in relationships with, including the loss of, significant wholesale customers; the failure of the U.S. Department of Defense to exercise future purchase options or award new contracts, or the cancellation or modification of existing contracts by the Department of Defense or other military purchasers; risks related to the significant investment in, and performance of, the Company's consumer-direct operations; risks related to expansion into new markets and complementary product categories as well as consumer-direct operations; the impact of seasonality and unpredictable weather conditions; changes in general economic conditions and/or the credit markets on the Company's distributors, suppliers and customers; increase in the Company's effective tax rates; failure of licensees or distributors to meet planned annual sales goals or to make timely payments to the Company; the risks of doing business in developing countries, and politically or economically volatile areas; the ability to secure and protect owned intellectual property or use licensed intellectual property; the impact of regulation, regulatory and legal proceedings and legal compliance risks; the potential breach of the Company's databases, or those of its vendors, which contain certain personal information or payment card data; problems affecting the Company's distribution system, including service interruptions at shipping and receiving ports; strategic actions, including new initiatives and ventures, acquisitions and dispositions, and the Company's success in integrating acquired businesses, and implementing new initiatives and ventures; the risk of impairment to goodwill and other acquired intangibles; the success of the Company's consumer-direct realignment initiatives; changes in future pension funding requirements and pension expenses; and additional factors discussed in the Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and exhibits thereto. The foregoing Risk Factors, as well as other existing Risk Factors and new Risk Factors that emerge from time to time, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. Furthermore, the Company undertakes no obligation to update, amend, or clarify forward-looking statements.
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SOURCE Wolverine World Wide, Inc.
Chris Hufnagel, (616) 863-4865