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VF Corp. Latest Acquisition Will Expand its Active Footwear Presence

VF Corp.’s latest acquisition could help broaden its reach the global active footwear market.

VF said Wednesday it has signed an agreement to purchase footwear brand Altra from Icon Health & Fitness Inc., which owns connected fitness brands including NordicTrack and ProForm.

According to VF, Altra generated roughly $50 million in revenue in the last year. The transaction is expected to be completed next month and the addition of Altra to VF Corp.’s portfolio should be immediately beneficial to earnings per share. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

With the acquisition, VF Corp. could elevate its active footwear offering and deliver on consumers’ expectations for performance-driven sneakers. VF’s other footwear brands, including Reef and Vans, cater to consumers’ street-to-beach lifestyles with sandals and skate shoes. Adding Altra could diversify VF Corp.’s brand portfolio due to its athletic presence and knack for elevating runners’ trail and road workouts. VF’s brand portfolio also includes outdoor companies The North Face and Timberland, which design footwear for mountain climbing and other extreme climate activities.

“The acquisition of the Altra brand is another example of our efforts to reshape and evolve our portfolio of powerful brands to align with our enterprise value creation model. The active outdoor and performance sector is a large and attractive growth space,” Steve Rendle, CEO and president of VF Corp., said. “The addition of the Altra brand brings to VF a unique and differentiated technical footwear brand and a capability that when applied across VF’s outdoor footwear, direct-to-consumer and international platforms will serve as a catalyst for growth.”

Icon Health & Fitness launched Altra in 2011, aiming to to provide consumers with comfortable and functional running shoes. The brand, which features specialized design technology for road, trail and lifestyle footwear, is sold in 55 countries through more than 1,600 specialty retail locations.

“The Altra brand’s truly innovative product and devoted brand loyalists will serve it well in its new home at VF,” Scott Watterson, Icon’s chairman and CEO, said.

The Altra acquisition follows VF’s recent acquisitions, including Icebreaker Holdings Ltd., which the company hopes will increase its position in the natural fiber category. Icebreaker’s product assortment is based on recycled fibers, plant-based fibers and merino wool. VF said the acquisition complements its SmartWool brand, which also designs products with Marino wool, and enables VF Corp. to create sustainable natural fiber products across its brand portfolio.

In August, VF acquired workwear company Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co., which it said is expected to add more than $1 billion of revenue by 2021.

VF Corp.’s footwear brands have also elevated their environmental commitments, including Timberland, which aims to use more responsibly sourced cotton in its apparel and footwear products for consumers. The company has set a goal to have 100 percent of the cotton used in its clothing products to be from organic cotton, U.S.-origin cotton or Better Cotton Initiative-certified cotton by 2020.

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