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Blackstone to invest $200 million in Crocs: WSJ

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[December 30, 2013]  NEW YORK (Reuters)  Blackstone Group LP <BX.N> is making a $200 million investment in Crocs Inc <CROX.O> that will give the private equity firm a 13 percent stake in the shoe company, Crocs' chief financial officer told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Crocs CFO Jeff Lasher also told the Journal that the company's chief executive, John McCarvel, plans to retire in April and will also give up his seat on Crocs' board.

Crocs, which is known for its colorful clogs, intends to use the Blackstone investment to help pay for a $350 million stock repurchase it expects to launch in the first quarter, Lasher said.

In exchange for the $200 million, Blackstone will receive preferred stock that can convert to common stock in three years if certain conditions are met, he said. It will also receive two board seats.

Established in 2002, Crocs sells its shoes, made out of a proprietary closed-cell resin it calls Croslite and offered in more than 300 four-season footwear styles in some 125 countries, according to its website.

Crocs posted a 2 percent decline in sales for the third quarter, hurt by weakness in the Americas and Japan. The company said it saw less discretionary spending for footwear, apparel and other consumer goods in the United States.

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Blackstone declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Reuters. Crocs and CEO McCarvel could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Michael Erman; editing by Matt Driskill)

[ 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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