Wolverine Worldwide (WWW) just announced in a press release that they acquired Collective Brands Inc. (PSS) and their Performance + Lifestyle Group, which includes the brands Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds.
That means Wolverine now owns the rights to 15 footwear brands: Bates, Cat. Chaco, Cushe, Harley-Davidson, Hush Puppies, Hytest, Keds, Merrell, Patagonia, Saucony, Sebago, Sperry, Stride Rite, and Wolverine.
It is an interesting time in the footwear industry because you have large companies getting larger while there still is a surge of independent brands popping up across the world. With the worldwide economy how it is, it's no surprise that acquisitions are so prevalent, otherwise most brands would simply go out of existence. Wolverine Worldwide isn't the only corporation holding numerous brands under its umbrella. For instance, Nike, Inc. owns Nike, Cole Haan, Converse, Hurley, Jordan, Nike Golf, and Umbro; while the Adidas Group owns Adidas, Reebok, and TaylorMade.
Is this good for the footwear industry -- for the mass of brands to be owned by the few, or would it be better if the brands could stay independent? That's a very big "if," by the way. In today's market place, it's either be bought out or fade away into history -- which would you prefer?