Columbia Sportswear Company signed an agreement to acquire OutDry Technologies S.r.l., which owns the intellectual property and other assets comprising the OutDry brand and related business, via a cash purchase from Nextec S.r.l., based near Milan, Italy. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2010, subject to customary closing conditions, and is not expected to have a material effect on the company's 2010 operating results.

“Columbia's acquisition of OutDry is the latest example of our strategy to build a portfolio of innovative technologies that deliver performance and protection benefits of greatest importance to outdoor consumers,” said Tim Boyle, president and CEO of Columbia. “We view OutDry's proprietary construction methods, under development since 1998, as the 'gold standard' for producing waterproof, breathable footwear and gloves that outperform products still relying on the 25-year-old method of internal booties and bladders. We intend to deploy OutDry across our portfolio of outdoor brands, including Columbia(R), Mountain Hardwear(R), Sorel(R) and Montrail(R), as well as to market OutDry to select leading brands within and beyond the outdoor industry.”

Boyle concluded, “We believe the combination of OutDry in our footwear and gloves, together with our new Omni-Dry(TM) ultrabreathable waterproof membrane found in select Columbia apparel styles beginning in Spring '11, means that Columbia now offers the most compelling combination of technologies to deliver head-to-toe waterproof breathable performance to outdoor consumers.”

OutDry's patented and patent-pending construction methods bond a waterproof, breathable membrane directly to the inside of the outermost layer of a shoe or glove, thereby preventing water or dirt from penetrating to internal airspaces and fabric layers as commonly occurs with products that rely on bulky booties or bladders. OutDry improves waterproof, breathable performance, reduces water-weight gain, maintains insulation capacity, and improves fit and dexterity, resulting in greater comfort. Avoiding water penetration beyond the outermost layer may also help reduce the incidence of mold, mildew and bacteria that often develop when internal fabric layers become wet.

Columbia's vice president of global footwear, Mark Nenow, sees significant benefits for footwear consumers, noting “OutDry finally delivers the waterproof breathable innovation that outdoor consumers have been asking for. This is ground breaking waterproof breathable footwear innovation for the mountaineer, the hiker, the multisport athlete, the trail running enthusiast, the road runner – any consumer that wants waterproof footwear without having to sacrifice performance, fit, light weight and comfort.”

In Fall 2009, Columbia's Mountain Hardwear brand introduced a selection of high-performance gloves manufactured using OutDry's patented construction processes.

Mountain Hardwear President Topher Gaylord commented, “Our consumers demand quality, performance, and superior functionality, and seek the most innovative solutions that allow them to challenge the edges of their potential. Our OutDry gloves have revolutionized our ability to deliver exceptional weather protection, warmth, and dexterity, providing consumers with superior performance over bladder-based construction methods.”

OutDry has gained increased awareness since winning the coveted Ecodesign award at the Volvo Sports Design competition at ISPO 2008, considered one of the most prestigious events within the global outdoor industry.

Nextec S.r.l. chief executive officer and co-founder Luca Morlacchi added, “We believe Columbia's decision to purchase OutDry's technology portfolio and to incorporate it across its portfolio of leading outdoor brands will help raise awareness of OutDry's unique solution to producing truly waterproof breathable footwear and gloves. We look forward to working with our new partners at Columbia Sportswear to further develop the OutDry technology, and to market OutDry to other leading brands, extending its truly waterproof breathable performance benefits to consumers around the world.”

Nextec S.r.l. cofounders and brothers Luca and Matteo Morlacchi will serve as chief executive officer and general manager, respectively, of OutDry Technologies S.r.l., which will remain headquartered near Milan, Italy, and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear Company.