Technical outdoor brand Helly Hansen signed a definitive agreement to acquire Musto, a British specialist sailing and country apparel brand, from Phoenix Equity Partners and other shareholders.
The transaction complements Helly Hansen’s existing leadership position in professional skiing apparel and enhances its presence in the U.K. outdoor market.
Musto caters to professional yachtsmen and world-class dinghy sailors. It was 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.
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 last three years, Helly Hansen has invested in brand and product development while focusing its core product offering and enhancing distribution channels.
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 U.K. 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 will report to Paul Stoneham, CEO of Helly Hansen, who will also become executive chairman of Musto.
Stoneham said: “Musto accelerates Helly Hansen’s long-term aspiration to become a global leader in sailing, matching our leadership position in professional skiing. Our focus will be to expand Musto internationally as an iconic British lifestyle brand with deep technical sailing credentials alongside Helly Hansen. The two brands are highly complementary and hold in common a deep regard for the sailing community and commitment to preserving our oceans.”
“Phoenix has been a long-term supporter and admirer of the Musto brand,” added Hugh Lenon, chairman of Phoenix Equity Partners and Musto. “We are delighted that Peter and his team have found a new owner that will continue to support the brand’s development, particularly in international markets. We wish Musto and Helly Hansen every success as they embark together on the next phase of Musto’s growth.”
“This is an incredibly exciting next phase in Musto’s evolution and we are invigorated by the prospect of working with a business as complementary to our own as Helly Hansen,” stated Musto CEO Peter Smith. “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.”
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.
Photo courtesy Musto