Helly Hansen, a leading technical outdoor brand, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Musto, the British specialist sailing and country apparel brand, from Phoenix Equity Partners and other shareholders. With this transaction, Helly Hansen will become a global leader in professional sailing apparel, complementing its existing leadership position in professional skiing apparel and enhancing its presence in the UK outdoor market.
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, Musto 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.
In early 2015, Helly Hansen developed a new long-term growth strategy based on the ethos that ‘Helly Hansen makes professional grade gear to help people stay and feel alive,’ tapping into the brand’s 140-year Norwegian heritage. Over the last three years, Helly Hansen has successfully invested in brand and product development, while focusing its core product offering and enhancing distribution channels, resulting in growth well ahead of the market.
The Musto acquisition enhances this by providing a differentiated product offering that will operate alongside Helly Hansen as a premium specialist brand. Helly Hansen will invest in Musto’s international growth ambitions as well as deepen its technological and sourcing capabilities. The acquisition reinforces Helly Hansen’s ambitions in the UK market, its growth strategy, and its desire to replicate its own performance with the Musto brand. Peter Smith, CEO of Musto, will continue to lead the business, and report to Paul Stoneham, CEO of Helly Hansen, who will also become Executive Chairman of Musto.
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.”
Hugh Lenon, Chairman of Phoenix Equity Partners and Musto said: “Phoenix has been a long-term supporter and admirer of the Musto brand. We are delighted that Peter and his team have found a new owner that will continue to support the brand’s development, particularly in international markets. We wish Musto and Helly Hansen every success as they embark together on the next phase of Musto’s growth.”
Peter Smith, CEO of Musto said: “This is an incredibly exciting next phase in Musto’s evolution and we are invigorated by the prospect of working with a business as complementary to our own as Helly Hansen. We look forward to leveraging Helly Hansen’s global network and R&D capabilities, as we grow our market leading position in sailing, country and outdoor apparel.”
Ondra Partners served as exclusive financial advisor and DLA Piper served as legal advisor to Helly Hansen. Financo Limited served as exclusive financial advisor and Travers Smith as legal advisor to Musto.
About Helly Hansen
Founded in Norway in 1877, Helly Hansen continues to develop professional-grade apparel that helps people stay and feel alive. Through insights drawn from living and working in the world’s harshest environments, the company has developed a long list of first-to-market innovations, including the first supple waterproof fabrics almost 140 years ago. Other breakthroughs include the first fleece fabrics in the 1960s, the first technical base layers in the 1970s, made with Lifa® Stay Dry Technology, and today’s award winning and patented H2Flow® temperature regulating system.
Helly Hansen is a leader in technical sailing and performance ski apparel, as well as premium workwear. Its ski uniforms are worn and trusted by more than 50,000 professionals and can be found on Olympians, National Teams, and at more than 200 ski resorts and mountain guiding operations around the world.
Helly Hansen’s outerwear, base layers, sportswear and footwear are sold in more than 40 countries and trusted by outdoor professionals and enthusiasts around the world. To learn more about Helly Hansen’s latest collections, visit http://www.hellyhansen.com
Musto is an iconic British apparel and footwear brand with over 50 years of heritage. It is a world leader in the marine and country apparel and footwear markets.
The brand was established in 1964 by Keith Musto, the world renowned Olympic sailing medallist who identified a gap in the market for high performance apparel.
From this starting point, the brand has continually pushed the boundaries of design and manufacturing and is now globally renowned for its innovation and product performance. It is the brand of choice for many of the world’s leading sportsmen and women, as well as marine and country pursuits enthusiasts from around the world. To learn more about Musto and its world class outdoor apparel and footwear collections, visit http://www.musto.com
About Phoenix Equity Partners
Phoenix Equity Partners is a leading private equity investor in medium-sized, UK-based companies. Founded in 2001, the firm has successfully invested more than £1bn in over 40 companies, across a wide range of sectors, backing entrepreneurs and management teams with bold plans to build great businesses. The firm is independently owned by its executives, managing funds on behalf of leading institutions from around the world.
Charlie Harrison & Ed Brown