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Outdoor financials: Native Eyewear acquired by A.T. Cross, plus Teko Socks, West Marine

Native Eyewear acquired by A.T. Cross. Teko gets new majority owner. West Marine shares dropped on lower guidance.

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Native Eyewear acquired by A.T. Cross

A.T. Cross Company (AMEX: ATX) said it is buying Native Eyewear for $17.8 million in cash and the assumption of approximately $1 million of short-term debt.

Native will be operated as part of A.T. Cross’ Optical Group Segment, which also includes Costa Del Mar brand. A.T. Cross bought Costa Del Mar in 2003 when it had revenues of $11 million; in 2007, its revenues had grown to $37 million.

Native was founded by Jason Wildman in 1998, focusing on performance polarized sunglasses. Recently, Native introduced its first line of interchangeable polarized snow goggles, which will debut at retail stores in September.

A.T. Cross also said the deal was expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share and that the deal would likely add approximately $0.07 earnings per share for FY 2009. In late March, A.T. Cross Company also entered into an amended secured credit facility which provides for borrowings of up to $35 million and expires in 2011.

Teko gets new majority owner

Anatom Ltd., an Edinburgh-based company, is the new majority owner of U.S.-based Teko, the eco and technical sock company, which will now be available in the U.K. market. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jim Heiden, founder and former CEO, is leaving Teko, and Owen Hammond has been promoted from vice president of operations to Teko’s general manager.

A company statement said this investment comes at a perfect time for Teko and will be used to boost the brands growing momentum in the specialist sports, outdoor, comfort footwear and natural products markets. Teko will use the investment to increase on-hand inventories, accelerate product development, and strengthen back-end systems for improved customer service and market penetration, it added.

Anatom, formerly the distributor of SmartWool in the U.K., reportedly has expertise in the outdoor and footwear markets and a proven track record with small growing companies in niche markets.

West Marine shares drop on lower guidance

Shares of West Marine’s (Nasdaq: WMAR) stock dipped March 27 following the company’s disappointing 2008 forecast and fourth-quarter 2007 loss.

Shares fell $0.90, or 11.1 percent, to close at $7.21. The stock has traded between $6.20 and $18.38 over the past 52 weeks.

West Marine predicted full-year earnings in a range of $0.02 to $0.09 per share. Analysts expect net income of $0.22 per share.

As consumers continued to tighten spending, the company reported that its fourth-quarter 2007 loss widened to $65.7 million, or $3 per share, compared with a loss of $12.8 million, or $0.60 per share, a year ago. Analyst estimates predicted a quarterly loss of $0.59 per share.

In a client note, Jeffrey Blaeser of Morgan Joseph & Co. predicted that the sector would continue to experience softness this year due to curbed consumer spending. He added, though, that West Marine has been able to generate solid free cash flow and keep a healthy balance sheet, which should enable it “to ride out the storm.” He reiterated a “Hold” rating.

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