VF Corp. to Buy New Zealand Outdoor Brand Icebreaker

Steve Rendle VF Corp.
CEO Steve Rendle at VF's Greensboro, N.C., headquarters.
Dhanraj Emanuel.

VF Corp. is adding another new brand to its stable.

The owner of Vans, Timberland and other popular footwear and apparel brands announced Thursday that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Icebreaker Holdings, Ltd., a privately held outdoor and sport apparel brand based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. However, on a trailing 12-month basis, Icebreaker Holdings generated approximately $150 million of revenue, according to VF. The transaction is expected to be completed early in 2018 and the addition of the Icebreaker brand to VF’s portfolio is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share.

“Bringing the Icebreaker brand into the VF portfolio is a special opportunity,” said VF chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle. “Its natural fiber focus is an ideal complement to our SmartWool brand, which also features Merino in its clothing and accessories. 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 in 1995 on the belief and its entire product assortment is based on Merino wool, plant-based fibers and recycled fibers. According to the company, its “farm to garment” approach uses Merino wool sourced from sustainable and ethical Merino farms in New Zealand. Icebreaker has 340 full-time employees and its products are sold in 47 countries through wholesale channels and branded retail and e-commerce platforms.

For the transaction, Barclays is acting as exclusive financial advisor to VF Corp. and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is acting as legal advisor.

VF — which has focused on organic growth and fine-tuning its portfolio since its 2011 acquisition of Timberland — recently made a comeback to the deal-making game, announcing in August its plans to acquire Dickies-maker Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. for $820 million.

In the past year, VF also shed its Licensed Sports Group business, including the Majestic brand. In August 2016, the company also finalized the sale of its Contemporary Brands businesses, which included the 7 for All Mankind, Splendid and Ella Moss brands.)