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Report: The Rockport Group Explores Options Including Sale

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The Rockport Group is exploring options, including a sale, after one of the company’s major debt holders, Crescent Capital Group LP, took ownership of the company, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the West Newtown, Massachusetts-based company, which owns the Rockport, Cobb Hill, Aravon and Dunham labels, plans to review its options, which could also include an equity or debt infusion.

Crescent Capital Group LP recently took ownership of The Rockport Group from private equity firm Berkshire Partners LLC and injected new capital into the company with other co-investors, the sources told Reuters. Crescent reportedly made the equity investment to protect the money it has loaned Rockport and ensure repayment.

The move comes as footwear brands and brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to adapt to the popularity of online shopping.

Rockport has distribution at department stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s as well as long-standing relationships with independents, including Harrys Shoes in New York City and Hanig’s in Chicago. The company also has 10 concept stores located in the Northeast and 29 factory outlet stores across the U.S.

Founded in 1971 by Saul Katz and his son, Bruce Katz, Rockport has evolved from a New England brown shoe company to a global comfort lifestyle brand. In 1986, the company was sold to Reebok and was later part of Adidas Group’s acquisition of Reebok.

In 2015, Boston-based investment firm Berkshire Partners, together with other investors including New Balance, led the acquisition of Rockport from Adidas Group for $280 million.

The Rockport Group is said to have at least $60 million in debt, in the form of a revolving line of credit, according to Thomson Reuters data. The company just celebrated its one year anniversary at its new 70,000-square-foot headquarters located outside of Boston.

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