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VF to acquire Icebreaker

Apparel and footwear group VF Corporation has announced plans to acquire New Zealand-based outdoor brand Icebreaker. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. The transaction is expected to be complete early in 2018.

Founded in 1995, Icebreaker’s belief has always been that “nature always has a better solution” and it based its product assortment on merino wool sourced from the most sustainable sheep farms in New Zealand. Later, when it decided to blend merino with other materials, it chose plant-based and recycled fibres.

It has 340 full-time employees and its products are sold in 47 countries through wholesale channels and branded retail and e-commerce platforms.

“Bringing the Icebreaker brand into the VF portfolio is a special opportunity,” said chief executive, Steve Rendle, on making the announcement. “Its natural fibre focus is an ideal complement to our SmartWool brand, which also features merino in its clothing and accessories. Together, the SmartWool and Icebreaker brands create an advantaged position for VF as a leader in the growing and under-penetrated natural fibre category.”

For his part, Icebreaker founder, Jeremy Moon, said he regards VF’s move to acquire the brand as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for Icebreaker and for its wool suppliers. He explained: “Our partnership with VF provides us with the largest platform in the world to tell our story, access new markets and reach new consumers at an accelerated pace, to introduce a whole new universe of consumers to the benefits of sustainably farmed, ethically sourced, New Zealand merino wool.”

Icebreaker chairman, Rob Fyfe, said Mr Moon’s vision had always been to build up a community of people around the world that believes nature holds the answers to creating sustainable, high-performance outdoor clothing. He added that the merino apparel category is one of the fastest growing categories in outdoor and active urban clothing around the globe.

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