Golden Gate, Integrity to buy boot maker

The two firms have agreed to take Wellco Enterprises private in a $17m deal.

San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital Partners and Boston-based boutique investment firm Integrity Partners have agreed to buy Wellco Enterprises, a maker of military and “rugged” footwear, for approximately $17 million (€13 million).

Under the agreement, shareholders will receive $14 in cash per share. That value is approximately 33 percent greater than the company’s most recent closing price, Wellco said in a statement.

Founded in 1941, Wellco produces military combat boots used in the US and abroad, including the hot weather boot, temperate weather boot and anti-personnel mine boot. It also produces military-style boots for civilians. The Waynesville, North Carolina-based company sells its products to the US government via the Defense Supply Center of Philadelphia, an arm of the Department of Defense that provides food, clothing, textiles, medical supplies and equipment and industrial supplies and services.

John Pound founded Integrity Brands in 1999. The firm specialises in investments in the consumer brand and retail sector, particularly those involving apparel, footwear and accessories. Its current investments include Orange 21, a designer, developer and marketer of products for action sports, Spy Optics, a maker of glasses and goggles, Cross, a maker of fine writing instruments, timepieces and personal accessories, and RedEnvelope, an online gift store.

Golden Gate invests in a variety of industries, including semiconductors, electronics, consumer products and retail, financial services and media. The firm agreed to buy the shares of Warren, Pennsylvania-based Blair Corporation, an apparel and home products direct marketer for approximately $173.6 million in January.