The man who brought Reebok to the U.S. market and turned it into a booming sports brand in the 1980′s and 90′s, then later sold the company to adidas Group in 2006 (making a cool $800 million in the process) is back in the footwear space. Now, as Chairman of his own Fireman Capital Partners private equity firm, Paul Fireman has pumped in close to $20 million in Newton Running. The investment represents an approximate 30 percent stake in the Boulder, Colorado footwear company (according to The Boston Globe) which sells shoes designed to promote a more natural running gait and forefoot footstrike (see some of Newton Running’s videos on the subject). Check out the official press release below on the Fireman Capital Partners investment in Newton Running.
Fireman Capital Partners Makes Long Awaited Return to Footwear Industry
Architects of Reebok International Empire Invest in Innovative New Partner in Newton Running Co.
BOSTON, June 10, 2011 — Paul Fireman, the man who revolutionized the footwear industry in the 1980′s as Founding CEO of Reebok International, and his company Fireman Capital Partners announce their highly anticipated return to the business of high performance athletic shoes with a significant investment in Newton Running Co., the leader in natural running footwear technology and innovation.
Fireman Capital Partners (FCP) has chosen Boulder Colorado based Newton Running Co., co-founded by CEO Jerry Lee and CTO Danny Abshire, as its sixth investment and its first foray back into the competitive footwear industry. FCP will work with Newton Running Co. to launch bold new strategic initiatives to introduce the authentic running shoe to a broader marketplace through innovative product design and Newton Natural Running™ educational programs.
“Newton Running is the footwear partner we’ve been seeking for quite some time. It’s a brand that is disruptive in the marketplace, authentic and driven by technology,” said FCP Founding Partner Dan Fireman. “This new investment speaks to the core of Fireman Capital Partners heritage and experience. We took Reebok from a fledgling UK running shoe brand and built it into a multi- billion dollar global business. Our expertise in design, development, sales & marketing will help bring Newton Running to the next level and beyond.”
Dan Fireman along with Joe Farina, an FCP partner, led negotiations with Newton Running Co. Dennis Baldwin and Steve Liggett, both formerly of Reebok, will represent Fireman Capital Partners on the Newton Running Co.’s board of directors. Baldwin’s firm Breakaway Ventures will also participate in the investment as well as provide guidance to the company on strategic branding and marketing.
“Paul ‘s expertise in the athletic footwear industry, combined with our innovative technology, will be a powerful partnership,” said Newton Running Co.’s CEO Jerry Lee. “Newton Running Co.’s patented technology is designed to allow runners to run as if they were barefoot, landing on their midfoot/forefoot instead of landing on their heels. This is the most natural way to run, increasing running efficiency and decreasing impact stress on the body. Newton Natural Running™ helps athletes run faster while lowering their risk of injury. Newton Running is the favored shoe among several of the world’s top endurance athletes, triathletes and is also rapidly growing with runners of all ability around the world.”
Under Paul Fireman’s leadership, Reebok introduced the first athletic shoe designed specifically for women, igniting a women’s fitness revolution in the mid 1980′s and turned Reebok into one of the most recognized brands in the world, expanding to over 170 countries and earning more than $4 billion in revenue.
Newton Running Co. joins a diverse and selective group in the Fireman Capital Partners investment portfolio which also includes Hudson Jeans, Evolution Fresh, Serena & Lily, IdeaPaint and Pilla. FCP’s rebranding efforts for Hudson Jeans is an example of the firm’s expertise and unique ability to help clients grow. Fireman Capital Partner Marla Sabo, former President & COO of Christian Dior Couture Americas, took the company and built it into a major fashion brand by developing new products, building out a seasonal collection with differing segmentation in the marketplace, and through the discovery of spokesmodel Georgia May Jagger, now considered a major presence in the world of fashion.
The Evolution Fresh investment is managed by Fireman Capital Partners’ Joe Farina and Stacy Madison. Madison is the founder of Stacy’s Pita Chip Company, a top selling natural snack food brand. Since Evolution Fresh focuses primarily on keeping its juice fresh, (Its tree to shelf time is less than a week), Fireman Capital has invested in pasteurization technology that will extend the shelf life of Evolution Fresh to expand its geographic footprint and distribution channels. FCP has allowed Evolution Fresh to grow while remaining true to its inherent entrepreneurial approach.
About Fireman Capital Partners (FCP)
The Fireman Capital Partners (FCP) team is distinguished by some of the most revered talents in business today. Personally assembled by Paul Fireman, founder and former Chairman and CEO of Reebok International (a company he sold to Adidas for $3.6 billion in 2006), they demonstrate that when great minds from diverse fields come together around a common idea, the whole really is greater than the parts. From advertising gurus to financial wunderkinds, visionary entrepreneurs to expert operators, the members of the Fireman Capital Partners team run the gamut of experience, yet there are certain things they all share – a core understanding of how successful businesses operate, an appreciation for creativity both within a company and throughout its communications, and a commitment to adding value to every investment they make. Learn more at www.firemancapital.com
About Newton Running Co.
Boulder, Colorado-based Newton Running is the leading Natural Running footwear brand, whose shoes feature patented Action/Reaction Technology™ to let runners be faster, more efficient and reduce injury by encouraging midfoot striking. Aside from helping people run better, Newton Running is dedicated to social responsibility by supporting numerous charitable organizations. Newton Running shoes are sold at specialty retails worldwide and at