Apr 16, 2013
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Winter clothing maker Canada Goose seeks new investors

Apr 16, 2013

Winter clothing maker Canada Goose has appointed investment bank Canaccord Genuity to explore options and perhaps tempt new investors as demand soars for its fashionable cold-weather gear, sources familiar with the situation said.

Industry sources said the fast-growing Toronto-based company might consider an outright sale. But Canada Goose said it is, at most, seeking to sell a minority.

"We're certainly exploring options to introduce additional equity into the company," Canada Goose Chief Executive Dani Reiss told Reuters on Monday.

He insisted that the family-owned company is not for sale, but said it would consider bringing on a "value-added minority partner".

Canada Goose has turned its pricey fur-lined parkas and other accessories into must-have cold-weather items.

The company was founded in 1957 in a small warehouse in Toronto by Sam Tick, Reiss's grandfather, and it bucks the global manufacturing trend by making its puffy winter gear in Toronto and in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and not in locations with lower labor costs.

"We stay in Canada because that's who we are," the company says on its website, which profiles such customers as an Iditarod dogsledder and a record-setting mountain climber.

The industry sources said the search for new investors is set to begin next month, when information packages will be sent to such potential bidders as Nike, Adidas, Helly Hansen, The North Face, and Percival.

They said Canaccord will also target private equity investors such as Blackstone, Permira, Quadriga Capital, and Equistone that have a penchant for fashion lines.

Canada Goose has annual sales of roughly C$200 million ($196 million) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of roughly C$25 million, an industry source familiar with the situation said.

The market for specialized outdoor clothing is expanding rapidly, with both sportswear companies and financial investors keen to gain a share in this profitable business.

Last year, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan bought a majority stake in Norwegian outdoor clothing brand Helly Hansen for about 2 billion Norwegian crowns ($350 million), well above the initial investment of former private equity owner Altor.

A number of major retailers had also expressed interest in Helly Hansen, including apparel giant VF Corp, European outdoor apparel maker Jack Wolfskin, South Korean conglomerate E.Land, French luxury and retail group PPR - owner of both Gucci and Puma - and Columbia Sportswear.

Separately, in 2011, Blackstone bought German outdoor clothing brand Jack Wolfskin for roughly 700 million euros ($916 million) from Quadriga Capital and Barclays Capital (now Equistone), which had paid 93 million for the business it 2005.

Canaccord Genuity declined to comment.

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