A.T. Cross Co. announced that it has closed an all cash transaction to purchase Native Eyewear, Inc., the maker of sport performance sunglasses and goggles. A. T. Cross purchased Native Eyewear for total consideration of $17.8 million in cash and the assumption of approximately $1 million of short-term debt.

In 2007, Native had revenues of approximately $11 million. Additionally, Cross commented that the deal was expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share and that, based on current business trends and including expected financing and closing costs, the deal would likely add approximately $0.07 earnings per share, after interest costs, for the full year 2009.


Native will be operated as part of A.T. Cross’ Optical Group Segment, which is currently comprised of the highly successful premium priced polarized Costa Del Mar brand, which Cross acquired in 2003. At that time of its acquisition, Costa had revenues of $11 million; in 2007, Costa’s revenues had grown to $37 million.


The company said the acquisition of Native demonstrates the continued execution by A.T Cross of its stated strategies, one of which is to acquire and operate multiple authentic sport performance sunglass brands and to manage each brand within the sports category where the brand has roots. Costa Del Mar’s roots and authenticity are in the marine sports category; particularly salt and fresh water fishing, and it is now one of the most successful performance sunglass brands in this category. Native’s roots are in the outdoor and mountain sports categories where it has been very successful in establishing an important niche.


Native Eyewear, headquartered in Huntingdon Valley, PA, makes a branded line of All Sports All Polarized sport performance sunglasses and goggles called “Native,” which are distributed throughout the United States under the Native Eyewear brand. Native’s products are distributed through a wide range of specialty accounts, including highly respected outdoor retailers such as REI and Eastern Mountain Sports, as well as through L.L. Bean, Paragon Sports and Sports Chalet, to name a few. Native’s eyewear products range in retail price points from $100 to $150.

Native was founded by Jason Wildman in 1998. Wildman developed the Native brand and its performance designed polarized sunglasses. Recently, Native introduced its first line of Interchangeable Polarized Snow Goggles, which are set to hit the retail stores in September of this year.

On March 24, 2008, A.T. Cross Company also entered into an amended secured credit facility which provides for borrowings of up to $35 million and expires in 2011.

Chas MacDonald, President of the Cross Optical Group and Costa Del Mar commented, “We are extremely pleased to add the Native brand and its very talented team to our Optical Segment. With a strong presence in the outdoor and mountain sports we believe this new partnership will allow the brand to grow in a dramatic fashion, similar to the exciting growth the Costa Del Mar brand has experienced since we acquired it in 2003. We are another strong step closer to our strategic goal of building a performance optical business that addresses the many categories of sport. Native’s combination of strong distribution, proprietary technology, and attractive price points, coupled with its lifestyle marketing philosophy make it a seamless fit with our brand-building and business development strategy.”

Jason Wildman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Native Eyewear commented, “We are very pleased to join the A.T. Cross organization. We believe that there is an excellent opportunity to expand our distribution and grow our brand and that the Cross organization will help us achieve those goals. The success they have had with Costa Del Mar shows us that they have a clear path to growth and the expertise necessary to fulfill our potential in the market.”

Dave Whalen, President and Chief Executive Officer of A.T. Cross concluded, “We continue to execute against our stated strategies. As we incorporate Native into our family of brands and products, we believe that there is a great opportunity to leverage our operations and their market presence to create another strong business under the Cross umbrella. We believe that we have broadened our opportunity to create value for our shareholders and are energized to demonstrate the strength of the financial and operational platform we have built.”