In contradiction to news reports that have circulated in U.S. trade newsletters and international newspapers, Germany-based outdoor specialist Jack Wolfskin has not been sold.
Wolfskin President Manfred Hell told SNEWSÂ®, after rumors re-surfaced at and after the recent ispo trade show, that neither he nor current company owner Bain Capital have made any official statements, to any journalist, anywhere in the world about a sale or any possible negotiations. In fact, he said, no journalists from any newsletter or newspaper, in Europe or North America, have contacted him or Bain for comments about this topic.
"There has been no change of ownership," Hell told SNEWSÂ® in an email.
Speaking about the lone North American newsletter he was aware of that actually cited a sale had been completed, Hell said, "The BOSS report story is a fabrication, plain and simple."
In that newsletter's Jan. 3, 2005, news roundup covering 2004, it wrote: "â€¦And Bain Capital saw a nice return on its investment in Jack Wolfskin, reportedly selling the brand off in December for approximately $200 million after buying the brand from Johnson Outdoors in 2002 for less than $63 million."
According to Hell and other executive sources at Wolfskin, the rumors began to circulate initially in Europe after a Dec. 10 report from Germany's Handelsblatt financial newspaper. The report was picked up by Bloomberg news service then carried by other newspapers, some of which added to the "news" along the way.
"We know that Bloomberg in December 2004 started this whole thing going with a report that the sale price was to be Euro 150 million," Hell explained. "This report was then picked up by a variety of mostly not-so-serious newspapers."
The original report in the Handelsblatt, as translated by SNEWSÂ® from the paper's website, read:
"U.S. investment firm Bain Capital apparently wants to sell German outdoor outfitter Jack Wolfskin. Bain wants to sell the business for about Euro 150 million (approximately USD $198 million) and has commissioned investment banker Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein to coordinate the sale, according to reports from inside sources. Both Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Jack Wolfskin declined comment."
Hell however had noted that no one contacted him, anyone else at Wolfskin or Bain before the news was printed.
Handelsblatt pointed out in that report that Wolfskin was sold in 2002 by Johnson Outdoor for USD $62.9 million, and that the strength of the Euro would increase returns from a possible sale.
SNEWSÂ® View: Note that insiders at Wolfskin haven't said a sale isn't possible. In fact, a sale would be expected at some point since most investment firms only keep their investments for about four to six years on average. Being that Bain's ownership of Wolfskin is going into its third year, a sale -- especially with the strength of the Euro -- could be expected. We'll report the news only when we have confirmed it is, indeed, official.