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E Land Buying K-Swiss Footwear After Sales Stumble

Stocks in this article: KSWS ES

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's the time of the season for acquisitions, it seems; and not just any acquisition, the down and out names, those that have seen better days and been shunned are starting to be scooped up. These are the kind of companies that sometimes hit value investors' radar once the best days are well behind, when the growth crowd has given up and moved on.

We of the value persuasion see something potentially attractive in these companies, whether it's cash, certain assets, or perhaps even a brand name and believe that the markets have punished them too harshly. We hope for improving fundamentals along with renewed interest from investors. Takeovers can be good too, at the right price, that is.

We saw one deal for Energy Solutions (ES) Fun With Acquisitions for the Value Investor announced less than two weeks ago. I believe the takeout price of $3.75 per share is on the low side. There's still time for other offers through Feb. 6, and with the stock now trading 4% above the takeover price, there's some speculation, real or imagined, that there will be other offers. But Energy Solutions was just the beginning.

Late Wednesday, South Korean apparel distributor E Land World Ltd. agreed to acquire legendary athletic footwear company K-Swiss (KSWS) for $4.75 per share in cash, which represented a 49% premium over Wednesday's closing price. This represents a somewhat sad end to K-Swiss as a publicly traded company. The company was founded in 1966, went public in 1990, and was a great growth story, especially between 2000 and 2006, when shares rose form about $3 to $35.

In the past few years, there were new product introductions and acquisitions, but nothing that could get K-Swiss back on the path of profitability. Revenue, nearly $500 million in 2005, fell to $216.8 million in 2010, before rebounding to $268.4 million in 2011. Unfortunately, the company never recovered from the last recession, was unable to regain its niche and has not had a profitable year since 2008. In recent years, K-Swiss was frequently trading below its net current asset value.

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