Yellow Wood Partners LLC, a Boston-based private equity firm focused on investing in consumer brands and companies, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Scholl footcare brand, which operates globally outside of the Americas, from U.K.-based consumer-goods company Reckitt Benckiser Group plc. The acquisition will reunite Scholl with the Dr. Scholl's™ brand as one entity after 30+ years of separate ownership. The combined business generates annual retail sales exceeding $700 million with leading market shares in the footcare category globally.
The Dr. Scholl's™ brand is a category leader at major bricks and mortar and ecommerce retailers in the U.S. Similarly, the Scholl brand is a category leader in various regions such as France, Italy, Germany, the U.K., Australia and many other markets outside of North America with deep penetration at both major retailers and independent pharmacies across Europe. In addition to its footcare products, the Scholl brand provides a diversified portfolio of skin care products, insoles, and treatment solutions for targeted foot conditions. The combination of Scholl and Dr. Scholl's will create a global footcare brand operating in 50+ countries as an integrated business.
Dana Schmaltz, Partner of Yellow Wood, said, "This transaction provides us with a unique opportunity to create a global brand as an undisputed leader in the footcare category. We are excited to reunite these two companies to continue the legacy and heritage of the century old Dr. Scholl's brand. The combined company will have the global resources to continue to develop innovative wellness products with a single vision focused on providing the best footcare products for consumers around the world. We are very proud of the work our management team and we have done thus far to build the Scholl's Wellness Company as a standalone, highly-focused entity in the Americas, and, we look forward to the potential of capitalizing on the company's strong momentum with this highly complementary acquisition."
Yellow Wood acquired the Dr. Scholl's brand in the Americas from Bayer AG in 2019 and has since successfully built out a full standalone Dr. Scholl's organization. Successful business enhancement initiatives since acquiring the business include building its e-commerce capabilities, accelerating new product development, strengthening the senior management team, and optimizing the consumer marketing mix.
Tad Yanagi, Partner at Yellow Wood, said, "Our experience of successfully executing corporate carve outs has helped us gain a deep understanding of the many complexities that accompany the separation of an operating subsidiary from a large global parent company. Our previous experience with other global multinational CPG companies enabled us to work directly with Reckitt Benckiser to create this opportunity. We look forward to using the full Yellow Wood operating capabilities to complete the Scholl transaction in a smooth manner. We are excited to bring the operating focus required to achieve what we believe is a strong future growth plan for the business that will benefit customers and employees around the world."
The transaction is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2021 and is subject to normal and customary closing conditions.
Dr. William Matthias Scholl started the much-loved, iconic brand in 1906 and over the next several decades developed many innovative products and grew the company in the U.S. and internationally. The brand has been owned by a number of multi-national corporations over the last 50 years, and rights to the brand were divided amongst the Americas and the rest of the world over 30 years ago. Bayer bought the Dr. Scholl's Americas business in 2014 as part of its acquisition of Merck & Co.'s consumer health unit. Yellow Wood acquired rights to the Dr. Scholl's brand in the Americas in 2019 from Bayer and established the Scholl's Wellness Company. RB has owned the rights to the Scholl brand outside the Americas since its 2010 acquisition of SSL International, plc.
Guy Phillips from Spayne Lindsay & Co. LLP, and Sawaya Partners, LLC acted as financial advisers for the transaction. Fried Frank provided legal counsel to Yellow Wood on the transaction.
Scholl is a leading global footcare brand that produces a wide range of skin care products, insoles and treatment solutions for targeted foot conditions. The brand was founded in 1906 by William Scholl in Chicago, USA and has a long history of innovation and category leadership. RB acquired the brand as part of its acquisition of SSL International in 2010. The proposed sale also includes RB's Amopé, Krack and Eulactol footcare brands.
About Scholl's Wellness Company
The Dr. Scholl's brand has been synonymous with foot care for more than a century. Founded by William Mathias Scholl, M.D. with a drive to scientifically support the feet to improve mobility, Dr. Scholl's products are clinically engineered and proven to provide comfort, reduce fatigue, relieve and prevent lower body pain. Today, the Scholl's Wellness Company continues to advance the science of movement and foot care with a mission to help people be more active and move comfortably every day of their lives. Visit www.drscholls.comfor more details.
About Yellow Wood Partners
Yellow Wood Partners is a Boston-based private investment firm that invests exclusively in the consumer industry in the middle market. The firm seeks to acquire branded consumer products that sell into a variety of consumer channels, including mass, drug, food, specialty, value, club and e-commerce. Yellow Wood's investment and operating strategy is based on utilizing the firm's functional operating resources to help maximize brand performance by driving organic growth and increasing operating efficiencies while acquiring additional brands into a limited number of platform companies in its concentrated investment portfolio. For more information, please visit www.yellowwoodpartners.com.