The trading debut of Birkenstock Holding on 11th October in New York has resulted in Christian and Alex Birkenstock each having a net worth of US$1.6 billion.
The descendants of the German cobbler made a wise decision to give the majority stake in the renowned shoemaker to private equity firm L-Catterton, the private equity firm backed by French luxury giant LVMH, in the year 2021, which proved to be a very profitable move. The 2021 transaction yielded more than €3 billion ($3.2 billion) for the shoemaker, putting them firmly on the road to going public.
Christian Birkenstock has notched a return of more than 100 percent on the minority stake he retained. Alex Birkenstock is no longer listed as a shareholder. Over two years before the agreement, records show that the brothers were collecting approximately 100 million euros in annual dividends.
The Birkenstock dynasty began approximately 250 years ago with Johannes and Johann Adam, shoemakers living in Langen-Bergheim, which is a small town located about 40 kilometers from Frankfurt. Johannes’ descendants kept alive the family’s legacy, with Karl Birkenstock introducing the brand’s iconic sandal in 1963.
Birkenstock has seen a boost in its female customer base, which is now 72 percent, thanks to a shift in attitude by young women who have moved away from the idea that they must wear heels and delicate shoes to be considered feminine.
Birkenstock’s CEO, Oliver Reichert, presented a sales blueprint to potential investors in 2013, when he became the first non-family head of the company. His plan included selling other kinds of footwear, such as clogs, athletic shoes, and boots, to reduce its dependency on sandals.
Despite some lingering doubts, the company sold a total of 30 million pairs of shoes in the previous year.
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