WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VERMONT (Sept. 23, 2010)â€”With strong brand growth and continued demand for technical performance apparel in the outdoor and LOHAS markets, Ibex Outdoor Clothing Holdings, Inc. (â€œIbexâ€) today announced that they have joined forces with North Castle Partners. North Castle Partners is a leading private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in consumer-driven product and service businesses that benefit from “Healthy Living and Aging” trends. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.
The new relationship will allow Ibex to manage and finance new multi-channel sales and marketing initiatives while benefiting from North Castle’s prior experience in the fitness and recreation industries. Ibex also will benefit from the expertise of North Castle’s team in the areas of strategy, marketing, operations and information technology.
â€œWhen we went on a search for capital to help us grow the business, we put the people before the cash,â€ explained John Fernsell, founder and CEO of Ibex. â€œWe made it very clear to our investment banker that the actual money was third on the list after compatibility and experience. We are happy to partner with North Castle Partners because of their understanding of our industry, the belief in our products, and their commitment to values will allow us to grow the Ibex business without compromise.â€
North Castle Partners is well known in the fitness, recreation and related industries. In addition to Ibex, North Castle has a controlling interest in Performance Bicycle, the largest independent bicycle dealer and direct marketer of bicycles and cycling accessories in the United States, as well as Octane Fitness, Cascade Helmets and World Health, and has had prior successful investments with Equinox Fitness and EAS.
“We are proud to partner with the management of this iconic brand and help them more widely distribute their high quality, high performance merino wool products,â€ said Chip Baird, North Castle’s Managing Partner.
â€œBased on the growing consumer preference toward natural and sustainable fibers, we expect Ibex to grow into a leading technical apparel brand in the outdoor softgoods market driven by the authenticity of its brand and the quality of its products,â��� said DJ Jenson, North Castle Operating Advisor.
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in White River Junction, VT, Ibex is a designer, marketer, manufacturer and distributor of branded merino wool technical apparel and accessories. The Company’s products are inspired by outdoor enthusiasts and cater to a wide range of outdoor pursuits and active lifestyles. Ibex was founded on the strong belief that wool is superior to synthetic materials traditionally used in performance clothing. Ibex has recently expanded its sustainable performance focus to include active lifestyle products made from natural, organic cotton.
â€œIt is very gratifying to experience strong growth during difficult times. We are working very hard to give the customer a great product and a great value,â€ said Fernsell. â€œAs we mapped out our mutual growth plan for Ibex, I realized how much the company will benefit from the North Castle network, and I look forward to bringing that depth of experience into our management team.â€
About North Castle Partners
North Castle Partners is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in consumer-driven product and service businesses that benefit from “Healthy Living and Aging” trends. North Castle is a hands-on, value-added investor in high-growth, middle market companies in the (i) aesthetics & personal care, (ii) consumer health, (iii) fitness & recreation, (iv) home & leisure and (v) nutrition industries. North Castle’s current portfolio includes such well-known brands as Atkins, Bora Bora, glominerals, Mineral Fusion, Red Door Spas, Performance Bicycle, Cascade Helmets, World Health and Octane Fitness. Prior portfolio company holdings include Equinox Fitness, EAS, Enzymatic Therapy, CRC Health Group, Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula, Naked Juice Company and Avalon Natural Products. North Castle and its operating advisors partner with management to bring a wide range of strategic and operational capabilities, as well as an extensive knowledge base and network to build world-class companies. North Castle is headquartered in Greenwich, CT. For more information, visit www.northcastlepartners.com.
Ibex is a designer of year-round merino wool and organic cotton outdoor clothing and cycling apparel, founded in the belief of the superior natural performance and properties of wool. Ibex couples the natural renewable resource with technical innovation and inspired design to create apparel for a diverse range of outdoor and active pursuits and passions. Men’s and Women’s items are divided into Ride, Base, Zing, Peak and Live categories, and are made from the best merino wool fabrics sustainably sourced from New Zealand. All Ibex clothing and accessories are available for purchase online, in catalog and through outdoor specialty stores. For more information, visit www.ibex.com.