Timberland buys Steamboat Springs apparel maker

The Timberland Company, the Stratham-based designer and manufacturer of outdoor footwear and apparel, has entered into a purchase agreement with SmartWool Corporation of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a maker of performance socks, apparel and accessories for men, women and children.

Timberland will purchase 100 percent of SmartWool’s outstanding stock from its Pennsylvania-based holding company, RAF Industries, and investment organization, Stripes Group LLC, for approximately $82 million. The purchase will be funded through Timberland’s remaining cash balances and short-term borrowings, the company said.

“SmartWool and Timberland share a common heritage as authentic brands grounded in functional and purposeful innovation,” said Jeffrey B. Swart, CEO of Timberland. “We look forward to working with the SmartWool team to build upon the strong momentum they’ve created, sharing Timberland’s global infrastructure and product expertise to accelerate and broaden SmartWool’s brand reach while retaining its unique brand essence and culture.”

With an anticipated 2005 revenue of approximately $42 million, the SmartWool acquisition is expected to add earnings of 2 to 3 cents per share of Timberland stock in 2006, with benefits weighted toward the second half of the year.

SmartWool will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Timberland Company and is expected to remain in Steamboat Springs. Chip Coe, the current president, will continue to oversee SmartWool operations.

Founded by a New England ski instructor 11 years ago, SmartWool has made a name for itself designing and manufacturing merino wool socks, apparel and accessories. SmartWool partnered with Timberland earlier this year developing performance footwear featuring SmartWool linings. – TRACIE STONE

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