HONG KONG–Samsonite International agreed to buy Tumi Holdings Inc. in an all-cash deal that values the premium travel goods company at $1.8 billion.
This is the biggest acquisition for the luggage maker since Samsonite went public in 2011. Samsonite’s chief executive officer Ramesh Tainwala called the deal “transformative” and said the two companies’ business models and product lines complement each other and can forge synergies.
Tumi is a high-end luggage maker with a retail-centric business that does 68 percent of its sales in North America, he said at a press conference in Hong Kong. Samsonite, on the other hand, is a mid-market luggage maker with a wholesale-driven business that does more sizeable sales in Asia and Europe, he explained.
“We can use the machine of Samsonite and its presence in terms of the feet on the ground in Asia and Europe to expand [Tumi] outside of North America,” Tainwala said.
The executive said Samsonite hopes to make use of Tumi’s expertise with carry-on bags, business travel gear and women’s handbags to flesh out Samsonite’s own range of products. Similarly, Samsonite hopes to apply its own skills to improving and expanding Tumi’s range of lightweight hard-sided luggage, he said, adding that hard-sided suitcases are critical for the brand to gain traction with international consumers, especially in Asia.
In terms of women’s handbags, Tainwala noted that Tumi has done an especially good job. He said it is Tumi’s fast-growing segment and currently comprises 15 percent of Tumi’s sales, which came in at $548 million in 2015.
“This is a segment that all of us, including Samsonite and Tumi, all of the luggage brands…have always aspired to reach out to women, and I must admit, with very limited success,” he said.
Tumi has about 2,000 points of distribution across 75 countries and, at $26.75 a share, is being sold at 13.6-times adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the past 12 months. The company’s fourth-quarter profit and sales beat expectations.
The deal helps round out Samsonite’s brand portfolio, which includes Hartmann, Lipault, American Tourister and Gregory. For the six months ended June 30, Samsonite’s net profit attributable to shareholders fell 2.7 percent to $94.4 million while sales grew 8.2 percent. It is due to report full-year figures later this month.
Samsonite is funding the deal, which is expected to close in the second half of the year, with committed bank financing from Morgan Stanley, HSBC, SunTrust and MUFJ.
Larger fashion deals, with values more than $1 billion, have been few and far between recently since they are usually funded with junk bonds, the market for which has fallen out as investors have grown more wary over the economy.