IQ Brands, a portfolio company of Huron Capital, has acquired Morrisville, Vermont-based Wheel House Designs, a maker of of novelty socks to specialty stores and boutiques. No financial terms were disclosed.
Detroit, MI – October 15, 2018 – Leading lower-middle-market private equity firm Huron Capital today announced its socks and apparel accessories platform, IQ Brands, has acquired Wheel House Designs, a producer of novelty socks to specialty stores and boutiques throughout North America. The deal marks the fourth add-on acquisition for the IQ Brands platform.
Morrisville, Vermont-based Wheel House Designs has been designing and distributing more than 450 variations of novelty socks over the past 30 years. Gail Bourne, who founded Wheel House Designs in 1989, will remain active with IQ Brands after the acquisition.
“We are excited to join the IQ Brands platform and work with Huron Capital’s team of industry experts,” said Bourne, who will continue to provide her creative and fun product designs. “We believe this is a mutually beneficial opportunity that will enhance product offerings, increase customer bases and expand growth prospects.”
One of Wheel House’s first products was the iconic spotted cow sock for Ben & Jerry’s. Today, Wheel House offers socks across 12 categories: Dogs, Birds, Cats, Country, Garden, Novelty, Wildlife, Life on the Coast, Life in the Southwest, Holiday, Winter & Warm and Children’s.
Brian Rassel, Vice President at Huron Capital, said Wheel House’s experience in the gift and novelty space is expected to provide an opportunity for IQ Brands to expand more of its products into this channel.
“We believe that Wheel House Designs, known for its imaginative, playful designs, along with its commitment to quality craftsmanship, will be a great fit with IQ Brands’ roster of well-known retail and corporate brands,” Rassel said. “This acquisition provides additional design and operational resources which we believe will further enhance the platform and help to solidify its position as a leader in the sock and apparel accessories market.”
IQ Brands, based in Advance, North Carolina, was originally founded as Socks and Accessory Brands Global and has made three previous acquisitions: Twin City Knitting Company, TopSox and IQ Brands. IQ Brands’ in-house design team strives to capture the latest trends in the colored and patterned sock category and sells private label, licensed, and branded merchandise to specialty footwear retailers, sporting goods stores, department stores, and discount retailers.
About Huron Capital
Based in Detroit, Huron Capital is an operationally-focused private equity firm with a long history of growing lower middle-market companies through our proprietary ExecFactor® buy-and-build investment model. We prefer complex situations where we can help companies reach their full potential by combining our operational approach, substantial capital base, and transaction experience with seasoned operating executives.
Founded in 1999, Huron Capital has raised over $1.8 billion in capital through six committed private equity funds and invested in over 150 companies, and our portfolio companies have employed over 11,000 people throughout North America. The Huron Capital buy-and-build investment model includes equity recapitalizations, family succession transactions, market-entry strategies, corporate carve-outs, and management buyouts of companies having revenues up to $200 million. Huron Capital targets both control and non-control equity stakes in fundamentally-sound companies that can benefit from the firm’s operational approach to creating value. Huron Capital’s sector focus includes business services, consumer products & services and specialty industrials.
For more information, please visit www.huroncapital.com.