Blackstone Buys Jack Wolfskin

Blackstone is buying German outdoor clothing company Jack Wolfskin for what has been estimated at more than 700 million euros ($994 million), Reuters reported. The buyout shop did not disclose terms of the deal. The company’s co-founder and chief executive, Manfred Hell, will step down as part of the deal, Reuters said.

(Reuters) – German outdoor clothing brand Jack Wolfskin will drive its expansion in eastern Europe and Scandinavia with a new owner and a new chief executive at the helm.

Jack Wolfskin co-founder Manfred Hell, who has run the company for nearly 25 years, will step down as CEO, the company said as it announced on Thursday it was being taken over by U.S. private equity investor Blackstone .

The price for the deal was not disclosed. A source told Reuters last month that Blackstone was willing to pay over 700 million euros ($994 million).

“It was an indescribable experience for me to lead a small company in a market that was just emerging, developing it into what it has become today,” Hell said.

The market for specialist outdoor clothing is growing fast, with sportswear companies like Adidas (ADSGn.DE) keen to gain share in this area in countries such as Russia.

With the brand already growing strongly in China, a spokesman said Wolfskin, which sells jackets, rucksacks, tents and shoes for mountaineers and trekkers, will now focus on expanding in Scandinavia and eastern Europe.

Wolfskin, which also competes with VF Corp-owned the North Face , saw sales grow 21 percent to 304 million euros ($432 million) in 2010 and said earlier this year it expected double-digit growth in 2011.

Blackstone said it was talking to candidates “with international experience” and expected to announce a new CEO in a few weeks. It expects the deal to close in August.

Former Puma executive Andreas Klotz will join as chief financial officer on Oct. 1 to replace Christian Brandt, who will remain on board as chief operating officer.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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