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Pentland acquires majority stake in vintage US sneaker brand SeaVees

Pentland Group will hope its successful former investment in Reebok can be replicated with new acquisition, SeaVees

Pentland Group will hope its successful former investment in Reebok can be replicated with new acquisition, SeaVees.

The third-generation UK family business has bought a majority stake in Californian casual lifestyle sneaker brand SeaVees (pictured) for an undisclosed sum through its subsidiary Pentland Brands.

Pentland Group has a lucrative history of investing in US footwear brands. In 1981 it bought a 55% stake in a then-small athletic footwear brand, Reebok USA, for $77,500, followed by a 55% stake in Reebok International in 1984.

It sold its share in Reebok for $770 million in 1991.

A significant part of the Pentland Group, its brands business owns a stable of sports, outdoor, and fashion brands including Speedo, Berghaus, and Canterbury.

Pentland said the investment, which is part of its portfolio development programme, will support the SeaVees ambition to grow the business within the US and internationally.

Established in 1964, SeaVees claims to have pioneered the transformation of the sneaker from gym shoe to casual shoe. The brand was rediscovered by owner Steven Tiller, after a chance encounter in a Tokyo thrift store which led to the rebirth of a forgotten American original.

Its shoes are worn by US celebrities including actor Rob Lowe and singer Chris Brown.

Pentland Brands global strategy director Chirag Patel commented:

“We have a strong track record of investing in brands in the long-term, so our plan is to give [owner] Steven and his team space to build the SeaVees brand, while giving them access to the size and scale of our network that, as a global brand management company, Pentland can offer.”

Wholly-owned by the Rubin family, Pentland Group also owns a majority stake in UK retail group JD Sports Fashion, one of the UK’s leading distributor of sportswear.

Pentland Group was founded by Berko and Minnie Rubin in 1932 with little more than a £100 ($123) base capital. Son Stephen (left) and his son Andy Rubin of Pentland Group are pictured above at their headquarters in London in front of a portrait of the founders.

It now operates across more than 195 countries, staffed by more than 19,000 employees, with annual revenues of $3 billion. 

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