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Rockport lands in the insolvency court with a buyer in the starting blocks







It's not always easy to do it alone.

Rockport executives learned this hard lesson before the company ended up in the bankruptcy court today.

In a region full of footwear brands, Rockport remains one of the landmarks of Greater Boston, with a reputation for comfortable clothing and casual shoes, honed with an athletic sensibility. Addidas swallowed Rockport in early 2006 as part of its acquisition of Reebok, but the adjustment was never right for the German giant. A spin-off into a New Balance subsidiary in 201

5 promised a new era. Rockport moved from Reebok's old Canton campus to new Newton excavations the following year.

But the decision of the company was, as it turned out, a complicated one. Rockport was unable to part with the Adidas logistics network by November last year. Two years are too long to stay connected in this way.

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Building a new distribution network turned out to be far more costly than expected for Rockport as a smaller, independent company. Aggravating circumstances: Three factories operated by overseas suppliers closed in 2016, disrupting Rockport's supply chain and delaying many deliveries. Then Rockport struggled with an important distribution partner. More unforeseen expenses

The New Balance subsidiary and its private equity partner Berkshire Partners quietly sold Rockport to the bondholders last fall. They do not want to keep the company and are quickly looking for new owners. CharlesBank Capital Partners, another PE company, won the subsequent tender with a bid of $ 150 million in cash. But others have the opportunity to strengthen the offer of Charles Bank. The final deal will require the approval of the bankruptcy court.

Who knows? Maybe Rockport will be back in a bigger shoe company again. If that happens, it will hopefully be better next time.




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