Wolverine Worldwide sells US Department Of Defense business to Original Footwear
Wolverine announced on Friday the sale of assets associated with its US Department of Defense contract business and the transfer of outstanding DoD contracts to Original Footwear. The sale, which was effective on September 29, 2017, is expected to improve the future viability of the Big Rapids factory operations.
Included in this sale is Wolverine’s Big Rapids, Michigan factory, which is one of the largest US Military footwear producers. Original Footwear will become a footwear supplier to Wolverine for certain products currently made in the factory. In addition, Wolverine will retain the Bates brand and will continue to operate the Bates civilian and military exchange business.
"The sale to Original Footwear will provide the opportunity for the Big Rapids factory to compete for Department of Defense contracts set aside for small businesses," said Wolverine Chairman, CEO and President Blake Krueger.
Original Footwear, the Tennessee-based footwear manufacturer, qualifies as a “small business” under Small Business Administration regulations, which allows the company access to a significant number of contracts not available to “large” corporations like Wolverine. Original currently specializes in products for the DoD under the Altama brand and owns the Original S.W.A.T and Ro-Search brands.
"We firmly believe that the sale of the Big Rapids factory and the DoD business to Original Footwear is in the best interest of the Big Rapids operations,” added Krueger. “With new ownership, we feel the factory is better positioned to win additional contracts that will retain important manufacturing jobs for the community."
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