Kathmandu, the outdoor retailer primarily active in New Zealand and Australia, said it had agreed to acquire Oboz Footwear, based in Bozeman, MO, for a base cash consideration of U.S. $60 million and earn-out of up to U.S. $15 million.

The earn-out is subject to Oboz achieving financial milestones in CY18.

Oboz, founded in 2007, designs, sources and distributes footwear for backpacking, hiking, travel, winter and general outdoor wear through wholesale channels primarily to outdoor retailers in North America. The wholesale-only platform with controlled distribution and limited direct-to-consumer presence allows Oboz to maintain a strong relationship with distribution partners in complementary markets to Kathmandu.

Kathmandu and Oboz have worked in partnership for over 10 years; Kathmandu has historically been the second customer of Oboz after REI since the brand launched in 2007. Kathmandu currently is the exclusive retailer of Oboz in Australia and New Zealand.

Kathmandu has about 164 stores across Australia and New Zealand and total sales of Australian $447 million last year.

Xavier Simonet, Kathmandu’s CEO, said: “The acquisition of Oboz enables the Kathmandu Group to accelerate our international growth, and diversifies our product mix, geography and channels to market.”

He continued: “I admire the success of Oboz in North America. They are an innovative and authentic outdoor brand with deep roots in Montana, driven by a passionate and successful team. It seems very natural that after so many years of close collaboration we deepen our relationship.”

John Connelly, president and founder of Oboz, said: “Kathmandu and Oboz share many common values: passion for the outdoors, focus on product design and innovation, customer-first culture, collaborative team work and strong emphasis on sustainability.”

He continued: “The bringing together of two leading outdoor brands with shared values makes good sense because it will enable both brands more opportunities to fulfil their potential.”

Oboz Founder John Connelly, will continue to lead Oboz from Bozeman and will report to Xavier Simonet, Kathmandu’s CEO.

Investment Highlights 

  • Oboz is a high-growth, capital light international wholesaler with distribution capability into highly complementary markets including authentic outdoor retailers in the US, Kathmandu’s primary wholesale customer targets.
  • Footwear is a highly complementary product category driving frequent customer visitation with less seasonality.
  • Oboz will increase the credibility of Kathmandu’s international offer, particularly for under-developed markets including Europe and Asia.
  • Diversifies Kathmandu by reducing its reliance on Australasia, increasing sales of a less seasonal product category and increasing wholesale exposure.
  • Oboz brings product development experience, sourcing and R&D capabilities, providing an opportunity to enhance Kathmandu’s product offering.
  • Improves Kathmandu’s financial profile, driving incremental sales and earnings growth, while maintaining a prudent capital structure

Photo courtesy Oboz