Central Ohio’s RG Barry acquired by affiliate of Tokyo-based conglomerate

June 13, 2024
2 min read
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By Dan Eaton

One of Central Ohio’s oldest companies has a new owner.

Footwear and accessories maker RG Barry Brands, which is based in Pickerington, has been acquired by a subsidiary of Tokyo-based conglomerate Marubeni Corp.

This is the first investment by Marubeni Growth Capital U.S., which was founded in 2022 to invest in consumer-focused businesses in this country. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, closed last week.

"Partnering with MGCU and Marubeni, who are positioned to make strategic investments in growth companies aiming to scale, is a testament to the strength of RGB and the unwavering commitment of our team," RG Barry CEO Bob Mullaney said in a release.

“This strategic deal unlocks enormous potential to apply the RGB way to new brands and to bring sustainable innovation to footwear, accessories and adjacent categories.”

Mullaney joined RG Barry in 2017 and has overseen its turnaround using a consumer-driven and data-focused approach. Sales more than doubled from 2018 to 2023 with a 15% compound annual growth rate, according to trade publication SGB Executive.

RG Barry’s roots date to 1947 when Florence Melton created the Dearfoams slipper brand. That’s still part of the company portfolio, alongside names including Baggallini and Planet A.

Blackstone, which was part of a group that acquired RG Barry and took it private in 2014, has sold its ownership position. Mill Road Capital, which also was part of that 2014 deal, will maintain a minority equity stake.

The deal positions RG Barry for “accelerated organic and inorganic growth” with investments into the Dearfoams, Baggallini and Planet A brands.  

“MGCU was attracted to RGB’s unique combination of authentic heritage brands, operational acumen and strong omnichannel distribution network,” President Taylor Rettig said in the release.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Bob and the management team to accelerate the company’s growth, amplify the brands and to identify strategic opportunities to add additional brands under the RGB umbrella that would benefit from the robust infrastructure of the platform.”

Next Generation Corporate Development CEO and COO Toshihiro Fukumura said in the release that being able to invest in an industry leader is a strategic milestone for the business.

Marubeni has a presence in 67 countries and operates 131 branch offices worldwide with holdings across an array of industries including consumer goods, food, shipping, energy and mining.

(source: https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2024/06/11/central-ohios-rg-barry-acquired-marubeni-tokyo.html)