Osprey Announces Plans to Sell Business to Helen of Troy

Pack manufacturer chose to sell to consumer products company for its reverence to innovative product design, and its commitment to employees and the environment

Osprey, the leader in creating top-quality innovative carry solutions, announced it has entered into a binding agreement to be acquired by Helen of Troy (NASDAQ: HELE). Osprey designs the highest performing and longest lasting technical packs for outdoor, travel and everyday adventures. With this acquisition, Osprey and its talented team of more than 270 employees will join the global consumer products company’s family of Leadership Brands which includes Hydro Flask, OXO, Braun, Honeywell, Pur, Vicks, Hot Tools and Drybar. President and CEO Layne Rigney will join Helen of Troy and continue to lead Osprey, which will remain headquartered in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains in Cortez, Colorado, with offices in Utah as well as the United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Innovative product design will remain a focal point for the brand as will its goal to become the most progressive, transparent and sustainable hardgoods brand in the world. Osprey’s dedication to create best-in-class, high performance, sustainable gear reflects the brand’s love of adventure and devotion to the outdoors. That dedication will continue with Helen of Troy.

Osprey Chairman Scott Pfotenhauer said, “Helen of Troy understands that to build a strong, long-lasting brand you need to do right by your customers, employees, community, and planet. I believe the blend of these companies will be a powerful force in the outdoor industry for years to come.”

After 47 years of designing packs, Osprey’s founder, co-owner and Director of Innovation Mike Pfotenhauer along with his wife, co-owner and board member Diane Wren have decided to retire and sell the company. They chose Helen of Troy because they felt that the team at Helen of Troy is committed to long-term ownership and stewardship of the brand and holds reverence for creative, innovative design.

Mike Pfotenhauer said, “They won’t mess with the secret sauce that has worked for Osprey for almost 50 years. Osprey will continue to do what it does best: design and build outstanding products for the next 50 years and beyond.”

Additionally, Mike Pfotenhauer and Diane Wren believe Helen of Troy shares their culture and values, especially in its commitment to their employees and to the environment. Helen of Troy promotes an inclusive and diverse workplace and values a healthy work-life balance.

Julien Mininberg, CEO of Helen of Troy, said, “Osprey packs have been serving my family on countless adventures all over the world for more than 20 years. Their excellence and durability made the decision to purchase additional Osprey packs an easy one as our need for technical and everyday packs grew. Even when small repairs were needed, Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee was there to take care of us, reinforcing my belief that behind every bag was a gem of a company.”

In addition to Osprey’s outstanding product design and industry leading product warranty, Helen of Troy was impressed by Osprey’s design center in Vietnam, and its strong factory partnerships.

Mininberg added, “We welcome Osprey to our family of brands. With strategic investments in marketing, in its website, in further developing Osprey’s direct-to-consumer business, we look forward to helping steward the brand’s growth and making it an even more central part of lives of outdoors enthusiasts.”

Helen of Troy has successfully integrated newly acquired businesses into its brand portfolio while offering them fresh perspectives from its diverse leaders and employees. As they have with other brands, Helen of Troy will provide Osprey with expertise and investment as it leverages its scale and capabilities to facilitate further innovation and growth.

”Since partnering with Mike, Diane and the Osprey management team in 2016, we have had a front row seat to an incredible growth story,” said Christian Johnson, Partner at Freeman Spogli & Co., a private equity firm that invested in the brand five years ago. “It has been a privilege to work closely with this team and we look forward to watching the company flourish under new ownership with Helen of Troy.”

Osprey President and CEO Layne Rigney said, “We wish Mike and Diane a well-deserved, adventurous retirement. As Osprey embarks on this next chapter under the wing of Helen of Troy, the brand is poised for growth with a steadfast commitment to honor the legacy that Mike and Diane have built – one of best-in-class product designs, top-notch customer service, and an unwavering commitment to transparency and sustainability.”

Mike Pfotenhauer will consult for Osprey for the next year finishing the design projects he is currently working on.

“I am leaving behind a team of collaborative design experts who I have worked alongside for many years. They are ready to carry the Osprey design ethos forward to new horizons,” he said. “Osprey has been my life for 47 years. Founding, growing and nurturing this company has consumed most of my waking hours. It has been a total blast, always challenging but constantly rewarding and fulfilling.”

As Mike Pfotenhauer looks ahead, he continued, “I’m an artist at heart. Designing Osprey packs has satisfied that need in me. Rather than retire as most might do at my age, I want to focus my energy on a balance of art projects and meaningful work on critical environmental and social concerns.”