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Tod’s, VF Corp. underscore pressures on founding families

Feb 12, 2024
Illustration of a person stepping up stairs made of stacks of cash.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The family behind Tod's SpA is vying to take the company private again, while a family member behind VF Corp. wants to shuffle its board amid activist pressure.

Why it matters: The willingness of the founding families to make changes underscores the pressures they face to turn around their respective businesses.

What's happening: The owners of Tod's — the Della Valle family — are enlisting the help of private equity firm L Catterton, which will launch a voluntary tender offer to acquire 36% of Tod's' shares at €43 per share.

Meanwhile, VF Corp's Kelly Barbey plans to push out two board members, at the urging of activist investor Engaged Capital.

  • The investor has pushed for board representation since it disclosed its stake in the company last year.

Catch up quick: Both families preside over struggling businesses, with shares vastly underperforming their peers.

  • VF Corp. has made some moves to divest some of its non-core assets.
  • Tod's CEO, Diego Della Valle, and family tried to take the group private in 2022 but failed without sufficient backing from shareholders.

State of play: With backing from L Catterton, as well as Delphine SAS, LVMH's fully owned subsidiary — which has built up a 10% ownership stake in the company — Tod's' effort could stand on better ground.

What's next: L Catterton will be granted representation on Tod's board when it delists.

  • Delphine will retain its stake after the delisting and be granted governance and exit rights.
  • Diego Della Valle will tender his 10.45% stake to L Catterton. He and his brother, Andrea, will retain a 54% stake in the company.
  • Barbey is targeting VF Corp.'s long-term board directors, Clarence Otis and Juliana Chugg, claiming they didn't do enough to respond to VF's challenges over the years and calling for their replacement.

VF Corp. and Engaged Capital declined to comment.

Editor's note: This article was updated after Reuters issued a correction to say only one member of the founding family of VF Corp. is pushing the apparel conglomerate to shuffle its board.

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