VF Corporation concludes acquisition of natural performance brand Icebreaker
Greensboro, North Carolina-based lifestyle apparel group VF Corporation announced on Wednesday its acquisition of Auckland, New Zealand-based outdoor and sportswear brand Icebreaker, which specializes in products made from Merino wool.
The completion of the deal means that Icebreaker is now a wholly owned subsidiary of VF Corporation. The American apparel company described the newly acquired brand as an “ideal complement” to its existing SmartWool label, which also offers apparel and accessories made using Merino wool.
The companies first announced that they had signed a definitive purchase agreement in November 2017. In a release published at the time, VF Corp Chairman, President and CEO Steve Rendle commented, “Together, the SmartWool and Icebreaker brands create an advantaged position for VF as a leader in the growing and underpenetrated natural fiber category.”
Icebreaker was founded by Jeremy Moon in New Zealand capital Wellington in 1995 as a company specialized in the production of thermal underwear made from 100% Merino wool. It subsequently expanded to Australia, then Europe and the United States, and its range of outdoor and sports products are now sold in over 4,700 stores in 50 countries, distributed through wholesale and retail channels, as well as the company’s e-commerce website.
The brand was a pioneer in the ethical and sustainable production of performance apparel made using natural fibers, and sources its Merino wool directly from some of the most sustainable farms in New Zealand.
The completion of the acquisition is the latest in a series of moves undertaken by VF Corporation to reorganize its brand portfolio in order to maximize the group’s growth potential. Last month, the company announced that it had signed deals to sell Nautica to Authentic Brands Group and acquire performance footwear brand Altra from Icon Health and Fitness.
These recent activities seem to suggest that VF is increasingly focusing on performance outdoor and sportswear, a sector which Rendle described as “a large and attractive growth space” when the Altra acquisition deal was announced in March.
Icebreaker is expected to be immediately accretive to VF Corporation’s earnings per share. Terms of the agreement were not released.
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