Asics reported that it sold Swedish outdoor brand Haglöfs AB to the Hong Kong fund LionRock Capital, which acquired 100 percent interest in the company. Terms were not disclosed.
Asics acquired Haglöfs in 2010 for $128.7 million.
Haglöfs, founded in 1914 by Wiktor Haglöf and based in Bromma, Sweden, has operated independently as a wholly-owned subsidy of Asics for several years. In addition to backpacks and other accessories, Haglöfs sells performance apparel, outerwear, hiking boots, sleeping bags, gloves, and other accessories for skiers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The brand is sold in 28 countries and has 11 freestanding stores and two pop-ups in Europe.
In the consumer products space, LionRock is known for acquiring a majority stake in Clarks in early 2021, one of the U.K.’s oldest footwear brands. It also bought a stake in Inter Milan, the Italian professional football club, in 2019. In July 2022, Viva China Holdings, which former Chinese Olympic gymnast-turned-business-mogul Li Ning controls, bought a majority stake in LionRock.
Daniel Tseung, LionRock’s founding partner, said, “Haglöfs fits seamlessly into our portfolio and evidences our commitment to acquire well-understood heritage brands with best-in-class products. We are excited to embark on a new journey with the company to expedite its growth both in the European market and beyond.
Tom Pitts, Lionrock’s head of Europe, added, “We have long admired Haglöfs as a brand that shares our commitment to sustainability and is embodied by its passion for the environment and the natural world and for tackling the climate issues we face. An unwavering consideration of the next generation drives Haglöfs to produce quality products that are made to last and shape its entire business approach. Haglöfs thinks differently, takes action, and is willing to stand apart from others.”
Fredrik Ohlsson, CEO of Haglöfs, said, “Asics has been a supportive and actively involved partner, providing invaluable assistance throughout our journey together. We are thrilled to start a new chapter with LionRock as our shareholder and are looking forward to becoming part of the LionRock family.”
In a regulatory filing, Asics said it decided to sell Haglöfs to focus on the running category.
Asics said in the filing, “One of the key objectives of the Group Mid-Term Plan 2023 is to become the No.1 Performance Running & Racing brand. As such, the Group has focused its investments in running-related activities, the Group’s core business, including with acquisitions of race registration platform companies, to create a running ecosystem. The Group has also been focusing on selected sports categories to maximize shareholders’ value.
“On the other hand, Haglöfs is a Swedish outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer with over 100 years of history. Well-known for its products’ high functionality, the company has established a strong presence as a premium brand, especially in the Nordics. Since the Group’s acquisition in 2010, Haglöfs has further increased its presence in the Nordics and Europe and improved its profitability by strengthening its marketing efforts and by the digitalization of its activities. However, the Group has determined that it is essential that a new partner implements the investments required for the further development of Haglöfs. The Transfer will allow the Group to focus its resources on its core businesses and accelerate its investments to achieve the goals set forth in the Mid-Term Plan 2026,” concluded Asics.
Photo courtesy Haglöfs