Yesterday saw speculation that Altor Private Equity is now seeking to sell its portfolio company, the Norwegian outdoor clothing specialist, Helly Hansen. Apparently a senior Altor source has been quoted as saying that Helly Hansen could fetch up to $350m.
Altor invested in Helly Hansen back in late 2006, following a number of investments by the Private Equity industry as a whole in to outdoor clothing and equipment specialists. Recent shopping trends have shown that the broader general public adopt brands such as North Face, Helly Hansen, Lowe Alpine and Musto, amongst others, as fashionable every day wear rather than just clothes to be worn when participating in outdoor or extreme sports.
This trend has clearly been picked up by PE firms, as some high profile brands have been snapped up by Private Equity investors and like the PE buyers such as Blackstone and Carlyle Group, which are being linked to Helly Hansen, this would not be the first case of such a company being subject to secondary buyout.
Jack Wolfskin, Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Halti Clothing and Mountain Warehouse have all found themselves in recent years forgoing one Private Equity owner for another. In addition to this there are a number of others including Cotswold and Snow and Rock whose purchase by a PE firm is still relatively recent and ultimately will become subject to speculation as to the their future ownership.