Ending a deal-making drought, the owner of the North Face activewear brand said Monday it had agreed to acquire family-run Williamson-Dickie for $820 million to expand its workwear portfolio.
VF Corp. already owns such workwear brands as Wrangler, Riggs Workwear, and Timberland Pro. With the addition of Williamson-Dickie brands including Dickies, Workrite, Kodiak, Terra, and Wall, it expects to create a “global leader in workwear with approximately $1.7 billion in annual revenue.”
Fort Worth, Texas-based Williamson-Dickie has been a leader in the workwear business for almost 100 years and has annual sales of $875 million.
“As we … look for ways to accelerate growth in our workwear platform, the highly fragmented nature of the $30 billion global workwear market offers several unique acquisition opportunities,” VF Chief Executive Steve Rendle said during a call with investors. “Williamson-Dickie is one of the largest companies in the work sector and has a diverse, global portfolio of iconic brands and a deep heritage in authenticity.”
The acquisition is the first for VF since it bought Timberland for $2.3 billion in 2011. As Fortune reports, the company “has been working to update its portfolio in recent years but [has] frustrated investors by the absence of a major deal.”
In June, VF told Wall Street analysts to expect a compound annual growth rate through 2021 of 4% to 6%, an ambitious goal in a difficult apparel and footwear market. “For the company to hit that mark, the top line needs the kind of big boost that a new, growing brand could bring,” Fortune said.
According to the Dallas News, Williamson-Dickie started out selling bib overalls to ranch hands in Texas, added women’s and children’s apparel, and eventually “expanded to dress oilfield workers all over the world including the Middle East and North Sea.” About three-fourths of its business is from the Dickies brand.
“Today’s announcement is an authentic and natural next step as we look to combine the strengths of our two companies to create significant opportunities for our employees, vendors, retail partners and ultimately our customers,” CEO Philip Williamson said in a news release.