Orange County Business Journal

Volcom Deal Seen Bolstering Global Growth

APPAREL: Known for luxury, PPR gets youth appeal brand Kari Hamanaka Sunday, May 8, 2011

Edgy clothing maker Volcom Inc. is set to rub shoulders with luxury brands Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent with a pending sale to France’s PPR SA.

PPR said last week it plans to buy Volcom, a maker of clothes inspired by action sports, music and movies, for $608 million.

The deal, expected to close in the third quarter, values Volcom at 40% more than its average share price for the past three months.

The buy stands to make Volcom an anomaly among PPR’s stable of upscale brands.

Volcom is set to be part of PPR’s sport and lifestyle group, dominated by German athletic shoe, apparel and accessories company Puma AG.

For PPR, the acquisition is consistent with its goal to grow its sport and lifestyle group.

“Volcom is one of—if not the—leading global action sports brands with a 20-year heritage,” PPR Chief Executive Francois-Henri Pinault said during a call with analysts, investors and reporters last week.

PPR is looking to gain younger customers with the deal.

For Volcom, being part of PPR stands to bring swifter global growth, an expansion into shoes and more Volcom stores.

“PPR is the perfect partner to help take the Volcom and Electric brands to the next level of success,” Volcom founder and Chief Executive Richard Woolcott said in a statement.

Woolcott is expected to stay with Volcom after the deal closes. He’s one of the big winners in the buyout—Woolcott’s 2.5 million shares in the company are worth about $60 million in the deal, before factoring taxes and costs to exercise options.

Volcom executives outlined a plan last year to take the company to $550 million in revenue, a 50% gross profit margin and an operating margin of at least 15% by 2014.

Accelerated Growth

THE NEWS:

France’s PPR paying $608 million to buy Costa Mesa-based Volcom

BACKGROUND:

Volcom the last major startup to make it into apparel’s big leagues; edgy image helped it fare better than others in downturn

WHAT’S NEXT:

Set to join PPR’s sport and lifestyle group alongside Puma; executives expected to continue running business

It’s likely Volcom, with $325 million in yearly sales now, could meet those targets on its own, according to analysts and industry watchers. Being part of PPR could shorten the time it would take to reach those goals, they said.

“It gives them the capital and the resources through PPR to fully develop their business and really realize the global potential of their brand that, over time, they could have achieved by themselves,” said Mitch Kummetz of Milwaukee-based investment bank Robert W. Baird & Co. “Partnering with a bigger entity will accelerate that.”

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