Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (Teachers'), through its private equity investment division, Teachers' Private Capital (TPC), has agreed to acquire a majority ownership stake in Helly Hansen Group AS, the Norwegian designer and marketer of high-performance outdoor apparel.
Teachers' is acquiring approximately 75 percent of Helly Hansen from Altor Fund II, which will retain a 25 percent equity stake in the company. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
Reports that Altor was shopping the company emerged in December. Sources had speculatedthat several retailers as well as VF Corp., Jarden Corp., PPR and Columbia Sportswear might submit bids. In late January, press reports speculated potential suitors included private equity firms.
Headquartered in Oslo with approximately 500 employees, Helly Hansen designs, develops and markets stylish and high-performance technical apparel. In 2011, the company had revenues of NOK 1,576 million ($282 million).
“Helly Hansen is an iconic brand with a long heritage and a strong commitment to innovation and design,” said Jo Taylor, TPC vice-president and head of Teachers' London office. “We see excellent opportunities to continue growing revenues and international awareness outside the core European markets. Management has a clear and compelling vision for the business and we look forward to supporting their efforts to build a global success story.”
“We are pleased to have Teachers' as a long-term owner of the company,” stated Peter Sjolander, the company's CEO. “The fund's strong financial backing and established global footprint will be invaluable as we look to expand the Helly Hansen brand internationally, particularly in North America.”
With $117.1 billion in assets as of December 31, 2011, Teachers' is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada. An independent organization, it invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 300,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario. TPC manages a global portfolio valued at approximately $12 billion. Since Teachers' began making private equity investments 20 years ago, it has achieved an average annualized return of close to 20% from the asset class.
Advisors to Altor in the transaction were ABG Sundal Collier, Robert W Baird, Wiersholm and PwC.