Helly Hansen's star has risen in recent years as it made inroads with streetwear culture in addition to honing its reputation as a top technical outdoor brand. Now the Oslo-based brand is making headlines with its plans to acquire Musto, the British specialist sailing and country apparel brand, from Phoenix Equity Partners and other shareholders.
This positions Helly Hansen to expand into professional sailing apparel, which complements its position in the professional skiing apparel market while claiming a stronger stake in the UK outdoor market. "The two brands are highly complementary and hold in common a deep regard for the sailing community and commitment to preserving our oceans," noted Helly Hansen CEO Paul Stoneham.
Musto is the British brand of choice for professional yachtsmen and world-class dinghy sailors. Granted two British Royal Warrants and an official supplier to both the British National Sailing Team and the British Equestrian Federation through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Musto leverages its British roots and sailing heritage to create high quality, cutting-edge technical products with a hard-earned reputation for innovation and performance.
In early 2015, Helly Hansen developed a new long-term growth strategy based on the ethos that "Helly Hansen makes professional grade gear to help people stay and feel alive," tapping into the brand's 140-year Norwegian heritage. Over the past three years, Helly Hansen has successfully invested in brand and product development, while focusing its core product offering and enhancing distribution channels, resulting in growth well ahead of the market.
The Musto acquisition enhances this by providing a differentiated product offering that will operate alongside Helly Hansen as a premium specialist brand. Helly Hansen will invest in Musto's international growth ambitions as well as deepen its technological and sourcing capabilities. The acquisition reinforces Helly Hansen's ambitions in the UK market, its growth strategy, and its desire to replicate its own performance with the Musto brand. Peter Smith, CEO of Musto, will continue to lead the business, and report to Stoneham, who will also become executive chairman of Musto.
"We look forward to leveraging Helly Hansen's global network and R&D capabilities, as we grow our market leading position in sailing, country and outdoor apparel," said Smith.
Ondra Partners served as exclusive financial advisor and DLA Piper served as legal advisor to Helly Hansen. Financo Limited served as exclusive financial advisor and Travers Smith as legal advisor to Musto. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.