Iconic sailing-wear brand Musto sets sail to Helly Hanson for £50m

 
Lucy White
Musto holds two royal warrants, and is an official supplier to the British national sailing team and the British Equestrian Federation

British outdoor clothing brand Musto, worn by the likes of Zara Phillips and yachtswoman Samantha Davies, has been sold to Norwegian sportswear company Helly Hansen for around £50m.

Phoenix Equity Partners, the UK private equity firm which bought Musto in 2007 for £40m, has finally relinquished the company after an unusually long ten-year hold period.

Helly Hansen, which itself is majority owned by the private equity arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP), has scooped up Musto as part of its turnaround and focus on growth. The company is set to make more acquisitions over the coming year.

Read more: Owner prepares to bid Musto bon voyage in £50m sale

“Musto accelerates Helly Hansen's long-term aspiration to become a global leader in sailing, matching our leadership position in professional skiing,” said Helly Hansen's chief executive Paul Stoneham.

“Our focus will be to expand Musto internationally as an iconic British lifestyle brand with deep technical sailing credentials alongside Helly Hansen.”

Musto holds two royal warrants, and is an official supplier to the British national sailing team and the British Equestrian Federation through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Peter Smith, chief executive of Musto, will continue to lead the business and report to Stoneham.

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Helly Hanson has been tightening up its operations since early 2015, just over two years after OTPP first joined as major shareholder.

It cleaned up its ownership structure, as OTPP bought out Nordic investor Altor and hoovered up the traded bonds, invested in its product development and focused on its core categories.

Last year, the company made earnings before deductions of NOK 204m (£19.5m), exceeding its plan by 15 per cent.

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