By TALON FERGUSON, APBusiness WriterWalmart skated to the defense of its iconic polar skate brand Monday after losing a bidding war with a private equity firm.
The Seattle-based retailer’s board of directors unanimously approved the deal with The Carlyle Group, the same investment firm that bought up rival brands in 2014.
The Carlyle group is a private-equity firm with offices in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Walmart said the deal includes a $300-million investment from Carlyle’s board, which will include the Carlyle brand, Walmart’s signature logo and the company’s retail and customer service.
It’s not immediately clear how much the deal will raise.
Carlyle owns stakes in Walmart and Kohl’s, the top two U.S. grocery chains.
Wal-Mart said the new deal will allow it to continue expanding into the emerging market of the Asia-Pacific, where sales of skateboards are growing.
The company also said it is working with the Carlya Group to build out its global retail network.
WalMart said it will pay the Carlyles for the new rights to the company name and logo for five years, which it said is about the same as what it pays other global brands such as Nike, Levi Strauss and Adidas.
The deal will also give Walmart a global presence in retailing and other aspects of the company, which is still mostly in Asia.
Walman’s CEO said the company is working to “grow and grow our retail footprint in the world.”
The Carlya deal is part of a broader strategy to diversify its retailing operations.
It includes the acquisition of a retailing company in Taiwan and an online shopping platform in Indonesia.
Walter Isaacson, who has led Walmart for the past 20 years, said the Carlyas’ decision was one of the “biggest strategic moves” in the company history.
Isaacson said the two sides had a “great conversation.”
“It’s been an incredible journey and it’s been a very rewarding journey,” he said.
Isaacsson also said he would keep his duties as CEO after the deal closes.
The decision to acquire Carlyle, which operates more than 700 stores in the U.K., Germany, India, Brazil, China, Russia, China and the U., is part a larger push by the retailer to increase its footprint in emerging markets and in markets with limited or no existing retail presence.
The announcement comes as the company seeks to tap into growing consumer demand for skateboards.
The company’s first global retail store opened in Beijing in October and plans to open a second in Hong Kong in 2016.