Canada's Teachers' to buy majority stake in Helly Hansen

Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:30pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - One of Canada's largest pension funds has agreed to buy a majority stake in Norwegian outdoor clothing brand Helly Hansen from Nordic private equity firm Altor.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan -- better known simply as Teachers' -- said on Friday it was buying roughly 75 percent of the Nordic company, which designs and markets high-performance outdoor apparel.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the situation said the deal pegged the value of the asset at about 2 billion Norwegian crowns ($326 million), which is substantially above Altor's initial investment.

The pension fund, which is buying the stake through its private equity arm Teachers' Private Capital (TPC), said Altor would retain a 25 percent equity interest in Helly Hansen.

Reuters reported earlier this year that Altor had put the clothing brand up for sale.

A number of major retailers including apparel giant VF Corp,, European outdoor apparel maker Jack Wolfskin, South Korean conglomerate E.Land Group, French luxury and retail group PPR -- owner of both Gucci and Puma -- and Columbia Sportswear had all expressed keen interest in the company, according to banking and industry sources.

Helly Hansen also attracted a lot of interest from a number of other private equity players too, one source added.

Oslo-based Helly Hansen, with roughly 500 employees, drew in revenues of 1.58 billion Norwegian crowns in 2011.   Continued...