GREENSBORO – US-based apparel and lifestyle retail brand VF Corporation has purchased New Zealand-based Icebreaker as it looks to increase the use of natural fibres in its apparel. Icebreaker, which boasts annual revenues north of US$150m, is well known for its sustainable and ethical credentials, using locally sourced merino wool and recycled raw materials from non-synthetic sources for much of its collection.
The business has also established a reputation for setting up robust partnerships with wool suppliers which uphold strict animal well-being standards and prohibit the practice of mulesing.
Icebreaker has 340 full-time employees and its products are sold in 47 countries through wholesale channels and branded retail and e-commerce platforms.
“Bringing the Icebreaker brand into the VF portfolio is a special opportunity,” said Steve Rendle, chairman, president and chief executive officer of VF Corporation. “Its natural fibre focus is an ideal complement to our SmartWool brand, which also features Merino in its clothing and accessories.
“Together, the SmartWool and Icebreaker brands create an advantaged position for VF as a leader in the growing and underpenetrated natural fiber category. We will have unmatched capabilities that will strengthen our ability to create innovative and sustainable natural fibre products across our brand portfolio, especially in VF’s Outdoor and Workwear brands.”
“I founded Icebreaker to offer a natural choice to adventurers, and to build a global brand from New Zealand,” added Jeremy Moon, founder, Icebreaker Holdings. “Our partnership with VF provides us with the largest platform in the world to tell our story, access new markets and reach new consumers at an accelerated pace. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our global Icebreaker brand team and for our wool suppliers to introduce a whole new universe of consumers to the benefits of sustainably farmed, ethically sourced, New Zealand Merino wool.”
Barclays is acting as exclusive financial advisor to VF Corporation and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is acting as legal advisor. The deal went through for an undisclosed fee.