Helly Hansen confirms UK's Musto purchase
Norway-based Helly Hansen has signed a deal to buy London’s Musto Clothing, the company that supplies the British sailing and equestrian Olympic teams. Financial terms were not disclosed but earlier reports suggested the deal values the firm at around £50 million.
The purchase is expected to help Helly Hansen as it targets growth in the UK’s higher-end outdoor clothing market beyond its existing offer of branded skiwear and other outdoor pieces. Its pre-tax profit rose 24% last year to NK204 million, but it is still small-scale in the UK compared to its other markets in Europe.
Musto, however, has a growing profile in its domestic market, both through its sailing and equestrian products and also because of its strength in shooting sports.
Helly Hansen said Musto is "the British brand of choice for professional yachtsmen and world-class dinghy sailors." Granted two British Royal Warrants and an official supplier to both the British National Sailing Team and the British Equestrian Federation through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, it leverages its British roots and sailing heritage to create "high quality, cutting edge technical products that enjoy a hard-earned reputation for innovation and performance."
The UK firm had been controlled by a group of investors led by Phoenix Equity Partners while the Norwegian firm ultimately has a Canadian owner in the form of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, one of that country’s largest pension funds. Phoenix has owned Musto for 10 years and the change of control sees the brand having access to wider distribution networks and management with deeper pockets as it seeks to grow at the upper end of the market.
Paul Stoneham, CEO of Helly Hansen, said: "Musto accelerates Helly Hansen's long-term aspiration to become a global leader in sailing, matching our leadership position in professional skiing. Our focus will be to expand Musto internationally as an iconic British lifestyle brand with deep technical sailing credentials alongside Helly Hansen. The two brands are highly complementary and hold in common a deep regard for the sailing community and commitment to preserving our oceans."
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