International outdoor apparel and footwear manufacturer Columbia Sportswear Company (Nasdaq:COLM - news) announced yesterday that it is acquiring the Sorel trademark rights, associated brand names and other related intellectual property rights for approximately $8m in cash.

The acquisition will be financed with operating cash flow.

"Internationally, the Sorel name has been associated with the design and creation of durable, cold-weather footwear for nearly 40 years," said Tim Boyle, Columbia's president and chief executive officer.

"Sorel's reputation as a quality, value-oriented brand is a superb fit with Columbia's footwear business. This acquisition will enable us to leverage our competitive advantages in sourcing and allow us to explore new channels of retail distribution without compromising the Columbia Sportswear brand. It's an excellent way to enhance the growth of our business in the rugged, cold-weather boot market."

The transaction, which is subject to certain conditions that include approval by the bankruptcy judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, is expected to close in early September 2000.

William H Kaufman Inc, owner of the Sorel brand, recently entered bankruptcy proceedings. The company's assets, including inventory, equipment and real property were offered for sale individually or as a group. Columbia chose only to acquire the Sorel brand.

About Columbia Sportswear
Founded in 1938 in Portland, Ore, Columbia Sportswear Company is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of active outdoor apparel and footwear. As one of the largest outerwear manufacturers in the world and the leading seller of skiwear in the United States, the company has developed an international reputation for quality, performance, functionality and value. To learn more about Columbia Sportswear, visit the company's website at