Former Reebok executives, Huub Valkenburg and Jay Duke, have purchased the Finnish running brand, KARHU, including the trademarks and patents of the KARHU brand. Karhu Sporting Goods Oy, previous owner of the brand, remains the licensee for the Scandinavian market.
According to a statement, Valkenburg and Duke, majority owners of the new holding company, KARHU Holding B.V., bring global experience in business turnarounds and new business development from major brands such as Reebok International and Nike/Converse Inc. They met in Moscow establishing the Russian subsidiary business for Reebok.
KARHU, established in 1916, is known for its technical running and outdoor gear. The brand has been worn on the feet on some of the greatest Finnish runners, including Boston Marathon champion Olavi Suomalainen, and Paavo Nurmi, giving rise to the Flying Finns.
“It is a dream come true to acquire KARHU, an iconic sports brand that I used to sell paying my way through college working at the local running shop,” said Huub Valkenburg, CEO of KARHU. “KARHU'S unique brand and product position in the marketplace leverages legendary Finnish craftsmanship and the patented Fulcrum technology for footwear.”
“KARHU's patented Fulcrum technology lets the foot work promoting heel-to-toe efficiency and a natural ride and feel,” said KARHU President, Jay Duke. “The running consumer demands unique products from special brands. KARHU was born on the track and offers products dedicated to the purity of running. We are committed to further developing strong partnerships with specialty retailers in the U.S. and around the world where runners seek premium products.”