GERMANY: Blackstone buys outdoor brand Jack Wolfskin
Jack Wolfskin products are currently available in more than 400 franchise stores
German outdoor clothing and footwear specialist Jack Wolfskin GmbH & Co is being taken over by private equity firm Blackstone in a deal that paves the way for international expansion in the fast-growing outdoor market.
The investment fund is paying a reported EUR700m (US$994m) to current owners Barclays Private Equity and Quadriga Capital, with the transaction due to close in August.
The deal will also see long standing chief executive officer Manfred Hell leave Jack Wolfskin after nearly 25 years at the helm.
"It was a unique opportunity and an indescribable experience for me to lead a small company in a market that was just emerging, developing it into what it has become today," he said.
"I have placed the company into new hands for its future development, and I am sure its successful path will be continued."
The change in ownership marks a new phase of growth, with the company poised to expand beyond its core European markets and build its brand internationally.
As the largest franchisor in the German specialist sports retail market, Jack Wolfskin products are currently available in more than 400 franchise stores and at 4,000 points of sale across Europe and Asia.
"We have seen consistent growth in the outdoor market, and Jack Wolfskin has played a leading role in this," said Dr Axel Herberg, Blackstone's senior managing director.
"Management at Jack Wolfskin has proven its ability to build a strong brand, and we look forward to supporting further growth throughout Germany and internationally."
Headquartered in Idstein im Taunus, the company employs more than 460 people. In 2009 it recorded revenues of EUR304.2m in Europe, up 21% on the previous year.
Blackstone expects to announce a new CEO "in the following weeks," and says it is talking to candidates "with international experience."
With Hell's departure the executive management team will see Christian Brandt become chief operating officer overseeing the company's operations.
From October, his position as CFO will be taken over by Andreas Klotz, who was in charge of finance at Puma AG for many years.
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