Apr 22, 2011
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Outdoor brand Wolfskin sale falls through on price

Apr 22, 2011

April 21 - The private equity owners of German outdoor apparel and equipment maker Jack Wolfskin dropped their sale of the brand after failing to attract a high enough offer.

Jack Wolfskin Summer 2011 collection

The sale of the group -- which had 2010 sales of 304 million euros ($444 million) -- was initially slated for the end this month, two people familiar with the process told Reuters.

"The owners were looking for a price tag north of 800 million euros," one of the bidders, which dropped out of the race, said, adding he had been willing to pay "500 million plus".

Some bidders had offered to pay more than 600 million euros, one of the sources close to the sales process said.

The owners, Barclays Capital and Quadriga Capital, said on Thursday they had decided not to sell Jack Wolfskin because sales and earnings this year were "significantly" above expectations and valuations did not reflect that pickup in business.

"As business is going better than expected the owners have to reconsider the original valuation (of the brand) which could not yet take that positive development into account," the owners said in a statement.

The two investors have owned the business since 2005's secondary management buyout of the company from Bain Capital for 93 million euros.

Barclays and Quadriga said they have not yet decided when to restart the sales process.

One of the people close to the transaction said the sale has not been abandoned altogether, but he gauged that any deal would take up to six months longer to get done.

According to sources, U.S.-based jeans maker VF Corp, which also owns outdoor brand The North Face, had shown interest in Wolfskin.

Blackstone was been the only private equity firm still involved in the process after BC Partners and Advent pulled out of bidding, sources said.

German mail order group Otto earlier dropped out but had said it may be interested in rejoining the bidding later.

The market for outdoor equipment has been growing at a fast pace since the 1990s, but is still dominated by midsize players like German brands Schoeffel and Vaude or U.S.-based Patagonia.

Last year, Jack Wolfskin saw sales increase by 21 percent and according to an industry source the company posted roughly 20 million euros in profit.

Sporting goods maker Puma -- majority owned by French luxury and retail group PPR -- and peer Adidas have said they have no interest in Wolfskin.

By Arno Schuetze and Alexander Huebner
(Additional reporting by Isabell Witt; Writing by Peter Dinkloh; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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