Polartec has a new owner and it’s none other than the venerable Milliken & Co.
On Tuesday, the Spartanburg, N.C.-based Milliken said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the performance textiles manufacturer from Versa Capital Management for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close in June.
Polartec, headquartered in Andover, Mass., produces fabrics primarily for outdoor and active apparel as well flame-resistant textiles, workwear and military-grade fabrics. It is also known for its fleece products.
“Polartec brings a wealth of new and respected outdoor textile expertise to complement Milliken’s strengths,” said Halsey Cook, president and chief executive officer of Milliken. “The strategic acquisition broadens our textile capabilities with a product offering to now include fleece and soft-shell outerwear, among others, allowing us to grow in new and exciting spaces.”
Jeff Price, president of Milliken’s performance and protective textiles division, said the addition of Polartec “expands our regional manufacturing reach and grows our technological expertise, enabling us to further deliver innovative performance textiles to the global market.”
Gary Smith, ceo of Polartec, said Milliken’s 150-plus years of textile expertise make it “the best possible ‘natural owner’ of a brand with Polartec’s pedigree. I look forward to supporting the integration.”
Versa, which specializes in distressed companies, acquired the assets of the former Malden Mills in 2007 after the 101-year-old firm’s third bankruptcy filing. The company was transformed through a focus on innovation and technology and renamed Polartec, its most popular product.
The sale of the company was not unexpected. In an interview with WWD in March, Smith said that following the turnaround and the company’s now-profitable balance sheet, Versa was actively searching for a buyer.
“Milliken provides the perfect platform to ensure the continuation and acceleration of the success of the Polartec brand after years of complex and transformative business repositioning by Gary Smith and his team,” said Greg Segall, ceo of Versa and chairman of Polartec. “It has been a great collaboration with Gary and all of Polartec’s valued employees, and we are proud of all that has been accomplished during Versa’s ownership — notably the feat of reviving an American textile icon and powerful global brand into an enterprise equipped to succeed in today’s highly competitive markets. Milliken is the ideal long-term owner for Polartec, and we look forward to seeing the two companies achieve big things together.”