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.
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. Natives 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.”