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VF Corporation completes Icebreaker takeover

Outdoor apparel brand Icebreaker is now under US ownership after New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office approved the NZ$100 million+ deal.

The purchaser is VF Corporation, which owns a diverse portfolio of lifestyle brands, including Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Wrangler and Lee.

In a media release, North Carolina-based VF Corp said the acquisition “is an ideal complement to VF’s Smartwool brand, which also features merino wool in its clothing and accessories”.

“Together, the Smartwool and Icebreaker brands will position VF as a global leader in the merino wool and natural fibre categories.”

The deal was originally sealed, subject to regulatory approval, last November. At the time, founder Jeremy Moon said 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.

The brand is sold in 47 countries through wholesale, branded retail stores and online. Sales were estimated at in excess of US$150 million last year.

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