- Helen of Troy, which owns Vicks, Drybar and Hydro Flask, among others, on Monday acquired outdoors backpack brand Osprey for $414 million in cash in a bid to "accelerate profitable growth" through acquisition.
- The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions. Osprey is expected to bring in 2021 net sales of between $155 million to $160 million, according to a press release.
- Executives see Osprey as a complimentary brand to Hydro Flask, with CEO Julien Mininberg calling the two a "compelling combination" for the outdoors consumer.
Mike Pfotenhauer, the founder of Osprey, said the acquisition is a "natural next step" for the backpack brand as it looks to scale. For Helen of Troy, it builds on the company's outdoors offering, provides it with another ESG-focused brand and gives it a stronger foothold in international markets. Around half of Osprey's sales are outside of the U.S., according to Mininberg.
"Combining the capabilities, authenticity, and credibility of this proven, highly respected outdoor pioneer with our global footprint and scalable global shared services creates opportunities for new efficiency and growth," Mininberg said in a statement. "Along with Hydro Flask, we can now serve and delight an even larger number of the passionate end users in the large and growing outdoor adventure category."
In a presentation on the acquisition, Helen of Troy highlighted Osprey's status as the No. 1 seller of technical packs, travel packs and everyday backpacks in the U.S., as well as No. 2 in the U.S. in hydration packs. The company offers backpacks for hiking, skiing, mountain biking, travel, commute and other categories, and executives see an opportunity for Osprey to go far beyond that. Potential product expansions include camping, outdoor apparel and footwear.
Notably, Helen of Troy plans to use Osprey to cross-sell its other outdoors-related brands, including Hydro Flask and OXO. Already, some of Osprey's biggest brand partners — including Nordstrom, REI, L.L. Bean, Dick's, Moosejaw and Amazon — sell Hydro Flask or other Helen of Troy brands. The target consumers for Osprey, Hydro Flask and OXO also overlap, and all hold a higher margin positioning, according to Helen of Troy.
In discussing Osprey's already strong penetration in the U.S., Mininberg on a call with analysts said, "the story is not yet over on distribution and it's not just outside the United States." Osprey recently added Dick's as a brand partner, which executives called an "attractive" store, and Helen of Troy also believes it can improve Osprey's sales through Amazon and through its own DTC channels. Osprey already has a "significant" DTC business, according to the company, but Helen of Troy plans to scale it further.
"We're ramping big time [on DTC], so is Osprey, and we know that our IT teams can add value," Mininberg said.