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Outdoor financials: Kellwood acquires Royal Robbins, plus Johnson Outdoors, Eddie Bauer, Kellwood, Cabela's, Outdoor Channel, Nike

Kellwood acquires Royal Robbins for approximately 1.2 times sales, Johnson Outdoors initiated a dividends, Eddie Bauer appointed a new CEO, S&P confirmed Kellwood's credit rating, Cabela's closed an offering of $60 million of senior notes, Outdoor Channel warned it may lose 500,000 viewers, and Nike and Brooks settled a logo lawsuit.

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Kellwood acquires Royal Robbins for approximately 1.2 times sales
Kellwood Company (NYSE: KWD) announced an agreement today to acquire Royal Robbins, Inc., a division of Phoenix Footwear Group, Inc. (AMEX: PXG), according to Robert C. Skinner, Jr., Kellwood chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

Headquartered in Modesto, California, Royal Robbins designs and markets active sportswear and travel apparel for men and women. The company was founded in 1968 by Royal Robbins. Robbins and his wife and partner, Liz, established the business to outfit climbing enthusiasts and other outdoor-oriented individuals.

The acquisition of Royal Robbins further underscores the intent of American Recreation Products, under Kellwood’s direction, to expand its sphere of influence in the outdoor recreation and leisure products market. Robbins joins a portfolio that includes Sierra Designs, Kelty, and Slumberjack.

“We have been searching for the right outdoor apparel company to add to our division’s product mix and Royal Robbins is the perfect fit. Their highly visible, strong consumer base enhances our positioning and allows us to accelerate our growth and profitability,” said George J. Grabner, Jr., president of American Recreation Products.

Robert (Bob) Orlando, president of Royal Robbins, and his team will continue with the company. He will report to Grabner.

In October 2003, the company was acquired by Phoenix Footwear. Sales for Royal Robbins in calendar year 2006 were approximately $30 million. The transaction is expected to close by early July. Kellwood is purchasing Royal Robbins for approximately $40 million. The company does not anticipate the acquisition will significantly impact 2007 results. Kellwood was represented by Financo, Inc. and Phoenix Footwear by Kurt Salmon Associates Capital Advisors, Inc.

Johnson Outdoors initiates dividends

Johnson Outdoors’ (Nasdaq: JOUT) board of directors declared an initial dividend on Class A and Class B shares. The plan anticipates a total annual dividend of $0.22 per share on the company’s outstanding shares of Class A common stock payable each quarter through a cash dividend of $0.055 per Class A share. It also anticipates a total annual dividend of $0.20 per share of the company’s outstanding shares of Class B common stock, payable each quarter through a cash dividend of $0.05 per Class B share. The company will pay the dividends July 26 to shareholders of record July 12.

Eddie Bauer appoints new CEO

The board of directors for Eddie Bauer Holdings (Nasdaq: EBHI) has elected Neil S. Fiske as the company’s new president and chief executive officer, effective July 9. Fiske, who will also be appointed to the board of directors, succeeds Howard Gross, a board member who served as interim chief executive after Fabian Mansson resigned the CEO post in February, following shareholders’ rejection of the company’s proposed $286 million sale to two private equity firms.

Fiske, 45, has over 18 years experience in the retail and related industries, having served most recently as chief executive officer of the Bath and Body Works, a division of Limited Brands. Prior to Limited Brands, he spent 14 years at Boston Consulting Group focused on the consumer goods and retail sector.

S&P confirms Kellwood credit rating

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service said its credit ratings and outlook for Kellwood Co. (NYSE: KWD) would not be affected by the company’s $175 million acquisition of Hanna Andersson, a children’s clothing seller. S&P currently has a “BB”, or non-investment grade, credit rating on Kellwood with a negative outlook. Kellwood said the buy would help its earnings in the first full-year. The deal is expected to close by the end of the fiscal second quarter.

Cabela’s closes offering of $60 million of senior notes
Cabela’s (NYSE: CAB) has sold $60 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.08% senior notes due 2017 in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers. The company said it intends to use the proceeds from the offering for new retail store expansion, including capital expenditures and the purchase of economic development bonds, and general corporate purposes.

Outdoor Channel warns it may lose 500,000 viewers

Outdoor Channel Holdings (Nasdaq: OUTD) said it could lose up to 500,000 viewers after cable operator Comcast Communications Corp. said it will drop the channel to a subscription sports tier in the Chicago market.

The network, which broadcasts hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports and leisure programming, is currently on Comcast’s popular digital cable package. As of June 27, the network will be on Comcast’s new sports package, which will cost subscribers $4.95 per month beyond whatever cable subscription they already have.

“We do not understand why Comcast is moving our channel,” said Tom Hornish, chief operating officer of Outdoor Channel, in a statement. “We believe that for the quality programming we provide, our costs to Comcast are very reasonable and fair. It’s unfortunate that even though our rates to Comcast have not gone up, Comcast customers in the Chicago area will now have to pay more for something that was previously included in their total package.”

In the first quarter, Outdoor Channel had $4.7 million in subscriber fees, which are paid by the cable carriers based on the number of homes in which the channel is shown. It did not say how many viewers it reached.

Additionally, Outdoor Channel reported in a regulatory filing that Tom Massie resigned as executive vice president and secretary on June 6, but will continue to serve as a director. In April, the company sold its membership division to Massie, then vice chairman of the board, for $3.6 million in cash.

Nike and Brooks settle logo lawsuit
Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Brooks have settled a lawsuit over the Tailwind collection logo. Brooks alleged the Tailwind logo was too similar to its own and filed a suit over trademark infringement and unfair competition. The Tailwind line, a product of Nike’s Exeter subsidiary sold exclusively at Payless ShoeSource Inc., was released in February. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Nike said it would use a revised logo for its Tailwind products going forward.

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