Ontario Teachers Selling Helly Hansen

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) has agreed to sell Helly Hansen to publicly traded Canadian Tire Corporation for $985 million and the assumption of $50 million of net debt.

Helly Hansen is a designer, developer and marketer of high-performance technical apparel – including outerwear, base layers, sportswear and footwear – that is used in sailing, skiing, mountain, urban, rainwear and workwear applications. The company has wholesale and retail distribution capabilities in more than 40 countries and annual revenues of approximately US$300 million. Helly Hansen is headquartered in Oslo, Norway (www.hellyhansen.com).

Helly Hansen was founded in 1877 by Helly Juell Hansen, an experienced seamen, and he and his wife Maren Margarethe began the business by producing oilskin jackets, trousers, sou’westers and tarpaulins, made from coarse linen soaked in linseed oil. The company was family-owned until its sale to Norwegian conglomerate Orkla and was later acquired by Investcorp in 1997. In October 2006, Investcorp sold its interest in the company to Altor Equity Partners. Then, in August 2012, OTPP acquired 75% of Helly Hansen from Altor and in July 2015 OTPP purchased Altor’s remaining minority equity interest.

Paul Stoneham, the CEO of Helly Hansen, and the existing management team will continue to lead the business under Canadian Tire ownership.

Canadian Tire (TSX: CTC) sells a sells a wide range of automotive, hardware, sports and leisure, and home products. The company’s retail operations include Canadian Tire, its core retail and automotive service operation; Canadian Tire Petroleum, an operator of gas stations, car washes, and oil change shops; Mark’s, a men’s, women’s, and work apparel retailer; FGL Sports, a sporting goods and sportswear retailer; and PartSource, a retailer of auto parts and accessories. Canadian Tire is headquartered in Toronto (www.canadiantire.ca).

“For more than ten years, Helly Hansen has been an exceptional fit with Canadian Tire and this acquisition will strengthen our assortment across all of our banners,” said Stephen Wetmore, President and CEO of Canadian Tire. “With our capabilities and Helly Hansen’s trusted global brand and management team, we see tremendous opportunity for Canadian Tire and Helly Hansen, in Canada and internationally.”

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is one of Canada’s largest and most active pension investors with C$180 billion in net assets as of June 2017. Teachers’ portfolio of assets, 80% of which is managed in-house, has earned an annualized rate of return of 10.1% since the plan’s founding in 1990. Teachers’ has offices in Toronto, Hong Kong and London (www.otpp.com).

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | May 10, 2018

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