Dearfoams parent RG Barry gains new majority owner, Eyes Acquisitions

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RG Barry Corporation has a new majority owner.

The parent company of Dearfoams, Baggalini, Columbus Product Group and Planet A revealed that it has been acquired by Marubeni Growth Capital US (MGCU), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Marubeni Corporation. MGCU is an initiative of Marubeni’s next-generation corporate development division that focuses on growth opportunities in the consumer sector. The acquisition represents the inaugural investment for Marubeni’s next-generation corporate development business in the US

Under the agreement, which closed on June 4, 2024, Blackstone will fully relinquish its minority ownership position in RG Barry. Private equity firm Mill Road Capital will retain a minority stake, and MGCU will acquire an undisclosed majority stake. (When Blackstone and Mill Road took RG Barry private in 2014, Mill Road owned 50 percent, Blackstone 48 percent and a consortium of institutional investors owned the remaining 2 percent of the company).

According to RG Barry CEO Bob Mullaney, the success of the company’s brands combined with the unusually long-term investments of previous investors set the stage for RG Barry’s next step.

“The company has momentum,” Mullaney told FN. “It was the right time to look for new partners.”

RG Barry was founded in 1947. A year later, the company solidified its name with Dearfoams, known for its foam-cushioned slippers. Since joining the company in 2017, Mullaney has orchestrated several changes to the organization, including opening an East Coast center in fall 2021. He also helped the company launch an Earth-first sustainable platform in the fall and a new data-centric platform, an artificially driven methodology intelligence to focus on the consumer. In 2023, RG Barry launched its eco-friendly footwear brand Planet A.

According to Mullaney, the acquisition will help increase investment in RG Barry’s portfolio of existing brands. Mullaney, for example, sees potential for Dearfoams to leverage its identity as a comfort brand beyond slippers and sees possible opportunities in related categories such as sleepwear, loungewear, pillows, pet beds, accessories and socks. It also plans to continue product expansion through the Baggalini brand, offering hands-free backpacks and bags.

Mullaney is also focused on inorganic growth opportunities through new acquisitions, which will likely be in the footwear industry.

“Footwear is a leading opportunity as one of the areas where we can continue to look at some of the brands that can be added to the portfolio,” Mullaney said, explaining how acquisition targets will need to benefit the company in terms of value and will also they required him to fit in culturally.

As for Marubeni, RG Barry’s strong branding foundation, as well as existing sourcing, distribution and wholesale partnerships, made the company a suitable partner for Marubeni as it expanded its reach in the U.S. consumer market.

“We see a strong platform in terms of operational execution,” MGCU CEO Taylor Rettig told FN. “We understand the differentiation that scale brings to businesses.”

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