Shortly following an Oct. 16 announcement that William Baird Plc had received a buyout offer from the UK-based brand Jacques Vert, the company revealed that it was in the process of seeking a buyer for its Active and Casualwear Division, which includes Lowe Alpine and Tenson. The UK-based trade newsletter, Outdoor i, printed the following statement from Baird: "The board announces that it has commenced the sale process in respect to its Active and Casualwear Division and that, based on progress to date, the Board expects to achieve an aggregate cash consideration representing a substantial proportion of the current equity market value of Baird.â€
SNEWS View: Nothing concrete has happened to date regarding Lowe, although SNEWS is well aware of the current rumors and very aware of the players bidding for Lowe. Suffice it to say that if Baird completes the sale of Lowe, it will be a very good thing for Lowe Alpine. While Lowe has made tremendous improvements in terms of operational and design stability over the last year under Baird control, it is still very much at the mercy of a publicly traded company that is suffering from financial challenges. If Lowe is acquired by a company that understands and appreciates the intricacies of the outdoor market and its consumers, then it will be the shot the company needs to move forward with strength. Lowe Alpine US has been making all the right moves to date and, we've heard, will be adding upward of 30 more retailers to its distribution coffers -- no easy feat in today's economic climate with retailers seeking to chop, not add brands. Lowe USA is solidly run, well managed and leanâ€¦and we hope and trust that whoever the new buyer turns out to be, they recognize that. SNEWS will keep you posted the minute a sale is announced.