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🠈  Samsonite - History  🠊

History of Samsonite

On March 10, 1910 Jesse Shwayder (1882–1970) formed the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company. He named his most durable line of luggage Samson after a mythical strongman in the Bible. Shawder trademarked the name Samsonite® for a case made of vulcanized fiber.

The new hard case bag became a best seller and the company changed its name to SAMSONITE. The company was the best selling luggage manufactured in Denver for many decades. At its peak, the manufacturing plant employed 4,000 people.

In 1973, the Shawder family sold the company to Beatrice Foods.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquired Beatrice in a leveraged buyout and sold off the brands to different companies. They sold Samosonite in an equity called American Brands. This equity went bankrupt and re-emerged as Astrum International.

Astrum acquired American Tourister in 1993. This combined company split and Samsonite became a private firm based in Denver again.

In 2001, new owners closed the Denver factory and the company approached bankruptcy.

In 2003, Bain Capital "recapitalized" the firm with $103 million investment (I think this just means they traded debt for equity.).

In 2005 Marcello Bottoli, who had served as president and CEO or Louis Vuitton acquired the firm and moved its headquarters to Mansfield, Massachusetts.

In 2007, The Luxembourg based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. acquired the firm for $1.1 billion.

In 2009 The U.S. Retail Division called Samsonite Company Store LLC filed for Chapter 11.

In 2011 Samsonite held an IPO on the Hong Kong exchange for $1.25 billion US Dollars and started an acquisition spree.

In August 2012 Samsonite the high end luggage brand Hartmann (founded in 1877) for $35 million and in March 2016 Samsonite acquired Tumi for $1.8 billion.

In 2017 Samsonite acquired eBags.com, which was a Denver based online store.

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