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New Balance Buys Rockport, Bob Infantino to Lead New Business

Adidas Group and Rockport are parting ways. Boston-based investment firm Berkshire Partners LLC, together with other investors including New Balance Holding, Inc. have signed an agreement to purchase The Rockport Company from the Adidas Group for $280 million. The transaction is expected to close later in 2015.

As part of the transaction, Drydock Footwear LLC, currently a New Balance affiliate and home to the Cobb Hill, Aravon and Dunham brands, will merge with The Rockport Company to form The Rockport Group. The Rockport Group, which will remain based in the greater Boston area, will be a new stand-alone company offering men’s and women’s dress and casual footwear across four brands——Rockport, Cobb Hill, Aravon and Dunham.

Footwear veteran and Drydock president Bob Infantino will lead the new business. In May 2011, Infantino joined New Balance to create an independent business focused on comfortable dress and casual shoes across the Cobb Hill, Aravon and Dunham brands.

Infantino said, “We at Drydock are excited to join together with Rockport to create an exciting, new global company with four leading comfort footwear brands. We look forward to utilizing our shared product, marketing and sales expertise to grow The Rockport Group brands and build on their distinctive place in the market that is highly valued by customers and retailers alike.”

John Withee, CFO of New Balance, said, “Given our history of success working together with Bob, we are confident in his ability to lead The Rockport Group and look forward to continued success with our investment in this venture. Bob leads with integrity and has always been committed to delivering great products to retailers and customers.”