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Timberland parent buys New Zealand’s Icebreaker

US-based global fashion brand owner VF Corporation has bought New Zealand’s Icebreaker Holdings.

Icebreaker pioneered the ethical and sustainable production of natural performance apparel for men, women and children, using Merino wool, plant-based fibres and recycled fibres.

The brand is sold in 47 countries through wholesale, branded retail stores and online.

The company has an annual turnover of about US$150 million, however terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Jeremy Moon, who founded the company in 1995, says it was always his plan to build a global brand from New Zealand.

“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. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our global Icebreaker brand team and for our wool suppliers to introduce a whole new universe of consumers to the benefits of sustainably farmed, ethically sourced, New Zealand Merino wool,” he said in a statement announcing the deal.

“Bringing the Icebreaker brand into the VF portfolio is a special opportunity,” added Steve Rendle, chairman, president and CEO of VF Corporation. “Its natural fiber 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 underpenetrated natural fibre category. We will have unmatched capabilities that will strengthen our ability to create innovative and sustainable natural fiber products across our brand portfolio, especially in VF’s outdoor and workwear brands.”

VF Corporation has a diverse portfolio of lifestyle brands, including Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Wrangler and Lee.

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