Macpac intends to bring apparel into Europe following an agreement by Champ Ventures, an Australian private equity partnership, to acquire 90 percent of the shares in the New Zealand outdoor apparel and equipment brand. The transaction, which was agreed at undisclosed terms, is expected to be finalized at the end of January.
Champ Ventures will buy the majority stake from Jan Cameron, the founder of a rival New Zealand outdoor company, Kathmandu, and Bernie Wicht. Cameron started investing in Macpac about five years ago, after the sale of Kathmandu to private equity. Cameron and Wicht both retained a minority stake in Macpac, along with Alex Brandon, Macpac's chief executive.
Macpac should reach sales of about $75 million for the current financial year, with about 95 percent of the turnover coming from New Zealand and Australia. The company sells to partners in about ten countries in Europe but the exports consist entirely of equipment – from backpacks to tents and sleeping bags. The plan is to expand this international offering with apparel, a category in which Macpac has made strong headway in the last years in New Zealand and Australia.
The brand's equipment is sold in Japan through Goldwin and it intends to invest in other Asian markets at a later stage. The company has indicated that it may move into the U.S. market as well, leaning on Champ's relationships in the country's wholesale business. Champ Ventures already has an investment in Lorna Jane, an Australian brand of fitness apparel.
Established in Christchurch in 1973 by Bruce McIntyre, Macpac has been described as the third-largest regional player. After a shift from wholesaling to own retailing in its regional market in 2008, Macpac boasts 27 branded stores in New Zealand and 16 in Australia. Employing more than 450 people across the two countries, Macpac also sells through its online store and distributors in Europe and Japan.
Champ Ventures said it was attracted to Macpac as an authentic outdoor brand, its recognition by specialists and steady investments in research and development. Macpac has long been endorsed by the New Zealand Alpine team.
Champ Ventures is the mid-market private equity specialist within the Champ Private Equity Group. The intended deal around Macpac is part of Champ Ventures' seventh fund, targeting equity investments of between $20 million and $80 million.