Outdoor apparel and shoe company Timberland has signed a definitive deal to buy apparel and socks company SmartWool.

Timberland is acquiring SmartWool from RAF Industries and the Stripes Group for about $82 million.

SmartWool - which develops, markets and distributes premium performance socks, apparel and accessories - will continue to be based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Timberland under the leadership of Chip Coe, SmartWool's president.

SmartWool and Timberland partnered in early 2005 to develop and market performance footwear featuring SmartWool linings.

Timberland anticipates the transaction will add $0.02 to $0.03 to its earnings per share in 2006, with benefits weighted toward the second half of the year.

SmartWool's 2005 revenues are anticipated to be about $42m, excluding sales of Timberland footwear with SmartWool linings. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the middle of December.

Timberland president and chief executive officer Jeffrey Swartz said: "SmartWool and Timberland share a common heritage as authentic brands grounded in functional and purposeful innovation, and our initial footwear collaboration demonstrates SmartWool's widespread consumer appeal".

SmartWool products are sold in more 2,000 better outdoor specialty stores throughout the US and through independent distributors in Canada, Europe and Asia.

Timberland is a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality ouotdoor footwear, apparel and accessories.