Wolverine Worldwide Announces Joint Venture In India

ROCKFORD, Mich., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) today announced the formation of a joint venture with Tata International to market footwear and apparel in India.  The new joint venture will initially be responsible for the wholesale distribution of Wolverine Worldwide's Merrell and Caterpillar Footwear brands.

The formation of this joint venture is a direct result of the efforts of Wolverine Worldwide's International Group, which was formed in January 2011.  Entering into a joint venture provides Wolverine Worldwide with a more meaningful ownership stake and near-term brand impact than its traditional licensee or distributor business model, and reflects the importance of this fast-growing market to the Company. Wolverine Worldwide and Tata International will each hold a 50 percent stake in this new joint venture. 

The joint venture structure provides both parties with an exceptionally strong partnership.  Operating this new business model in India allows the Merrell and Caterpillar Footwear brands to get close to their target consumer, while providing deeper insights into brand development opportunities.  It will also serve as a gateway and powerful brand platform for further growth of Wolverine's broader portfolio of brands throughout the Asia-Pacific region. 

Tata International brings significant retail and marketing expertise into the joint venture, as well as its 30 years of experience in manufacturing footwear, specifically for the Indian market. As an additional element to the business arrangement, the joint venture will have an agreement  with TRENT, another Tata Group company, which operates more than 50 department stores in India.  This retail alliance will further aid the expansion of the Merrell and Caterpillar Footwear brands into this important consumer market.

Commenting on the establishment of this important new joint venture, Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide Chairman and CEO, stated, "This new partnership demonstrates the progress we are making towards our goal of expanding the global retail presence of our brands through stand-alone stores, shop-in-shops and selected wholesale distribution.   This joint venture model follows the successful strategy of our owned operations in the United States, Canada and much of Europe.  We believe that we have found, in Tata International, a truly remarkable partner who is equally dedicated to the success, growth and prosperity of our shared company, as well as the continued global expansion of Wolverine Worldwide's lifestyle brands."

Mr. N. N. Tata, Managing Director, Tata International said, "We look forward to a successful partnership with Wolverine in addressing the lifestyle footwear market in India, which offers a meaningful opportunity. This is consistent with Tata International's focus on growing its presence in footwear distribution and retail in domestic and international markets."

About Tata International

Tata International Limited [TIL], is the trading arm of India's most respected diversified conglomerate, the Tata ($83.3B revenues with a presence in more than 80 countries) Group.  Established in 1962, the company is India's leading manufacturer, exporter and supply chain integrator of leather and leather products working with the world's largest brands. It also retails footwear and leather articles in India under the brand TASHI. Other key global businesses include trading and distribution of vehicles, steel, chemicals, minerals, engineering products and solar energy solutions. The company operates through its network of offices spanning Africa, Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Asia and has spearheaded strategic partnerships and forays into new geographies. The company is deeply committed to being a proactive, integral and responsible member of the community and the environment in which it operates. 

About Wolverine Worldwide

With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is one of the world's leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport and uniform footwear and apparel.  The Company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Bates®, Chaco®, Cushe®, Hush Puppies®, HYTEST®, Merrell®, Sebago®, Soft Style® and Wolverine®.  The Company also is the footwear licensee of popular brands including CAT®, Harley-Davidson® and Patagonia®.  The Company's Hush Puppies brand is a leading footwear brand in India, and has been in the market for several years through a separate distribution agreement.  The Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in more than 190 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit our website, www.wolverineworldwide.com.

SOURCE Wolverine Worldwide



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