Back in February of 2019, footwear company TOMS Shoes cheered the passage of gun control bills in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, and pledged to do all it could to ensure the anti-gun bills became law. Company founder Blake Mycoskie is a big fan of gun control laws, and spent millions of dollars in company funds to help push for the “universal background check” bill passed by the house.
In the wake of the Thousand Oaks, Calif., mass shooting in November, founder Blake Mycoskie pledged $5 million toward organizations committed to gun safety and joined advocates in a countrywide tour that reached its final stop in Washington, D.C.
“We started the End Gun Violence Together initiative to create a safer country for us all and to urge our representatives to finally take action on the gun violence epidemic in this country,” Mycoskie said in a statement. “We join our gun violence prevention partner organizations and over 90 percent of Americans who support this legislation in thanking Congress for reading our postcards, hearing our collective call for change and taking this historic step.”
“Our work is not done,” Mycoskie said. “This legislation is the first step in ending senseless gun violence in our communities. We will continue what we started in November and urge our elected officials in the Senate to pass universal background check legislation into law.”
Well, the Senate still hasn’t passed HR 8, but as it turns out Mycoskie’s work with the shoe company he started may very well be done. According to Reuters, creditors are taking control of the company, which has been losing money and was in danger of being unable to pay a $300-million loan due in 2020.
The group of creditors, led by Jefferies Financial Group Inc (JEF.N), Nexus Capital Management LP and Brookfield Asset Management Inc (BAMa.TO), will take over ownership of TOMS from its founder Blake Mycoskie and private equity firm Bain Capital, according to the letter. In exchange, the creditors will provide debt relief to the company, according to the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential arrangements.
Bain had acquired a 50% stake in TOMS five years ago, valuing the company at $625 million, including debt. Mycoskie owned the remainder. It is not yet clear whether Mycoskie will continue to have a role with the company given that he will no longer be an owner…
The new owners have agreed to invest $35 million in TOMS to show their commitment and support its future growth, according to the letter.
“Combined with an enhanced capital structure, this funding will enable TOMS to further invest in our promising growth areas and continue our commitment to giving, which have been initiated and supported by Bain Capital and Blake over the past five years,” TOMS CEO Jim Alling wrote in the letter to employees.
So, even with this new influx of cash, the company’s CEO apparently believes that shelling out millions of dollars to support gun control laws that don’t work is a winning strategy. In fact, for $28 you can still buy an “End Gun Violence Together” t-shirt from the TOMS website. Of course, you won’t actually be ending gun violence any more than Blake Mycoskie did, but your purchase may allow the troubled company to stay afloat a little longer.