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Another one bites the dust. Icebreaker sale approved

Another iconic New Zealand brand will be owned offshore, with the announcement of Overseas Investment Office approval for outdoor clothing company Icebreaker to be sold to US-based VF Corporation for at least $100 million.

North Carolina-based VF Corp already owns the North Face and Timberland brands. The NZSE-listed company said the OIO has signed off on the transaction, which can now go ahead. The acquisition "is an ideal complement to VF’s Smartwool brand, which also features merino wool in its clothing and accessories. Together, the Smartwool and Icebreaker brands will position VF as a global leader in the merino wool and natural fibre categories." 

Icebreaker said it was "incredibly excited by the new opportunities for Icebreaker."

Last year, the New Zealand merino wool outdoor clothing company confirmed the deal would need OIO approval due to the size of the transaction, implying a minimum value of at least $100 million, although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Icebreaker had annual sales of $220 million in the last financial year, of which 86 percent were in offshore markets, and its own outlets and e-commerce sales made up 32 percent of sales, according to the company's latest statement.

NYSE-listed VF Corp has a market capitalisation of around US$29.5 billion and its portfolio includes shoe brand Vans, and jeans staples Wrangler and Lee. The company lifted 2017 revenue 7 percent to US$11.8 billion generating a profit of US$615 million. It previously said the "purchase price is not material to VF."

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