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Cortez-based Osprey Packs agrees to sell to Helen of Troy

Cortez-based Osprey Packs Inc. has agreed to sell its business to consumer products company Helen of Troy for $414 million in cash.
$414 million deal expected to be finalized by end of the year

Cortez-based Osprey Packs Inc. has agreed to sell its business to consumer products company Helen of Troy for $414 million in cash, according to a Helen of Troy news release Monday.

“We are delighted to welcome Osprey and its employees to the Helen of Troy family,” stated CEO Julien R. Mininberg. “For nearly half a century, Osprey’s premium products have delivered superior consumer-centric designs, innovative features and construction, outstanding materials and quality and sustainability that resonate strongly with outdoor enthusiasts around the world.”

Founded in 1974, Osprey Packs has become a well-known brand with a product line that includes a wide range of backpacks and daypacks for hiking, mountaineering, skiing, climbing, biking, trail running, commuting and school. It also specializes in rugged, adventure-travel packs, wheeled luggage and travel accessories.

Sales revenue at Osprey is expected to be $155 million to $160 million this year, according to the news release.

“I want to extend my appreciation and reiterate my respect to all of my current and former Osprey colleagues and their families for their commitment not only to our company, but to each other and their communities,” stated Mike Pfotenhauer, founder of Osprey Packs, in the news release. “Their dedication has built Osprey into a brand and family that millions of end users trust and care about deeply.”

Mike Pfotenhauer, Marilyn Jones and an unknown person at the Dolores Osprey factory around 1990. (The Journal file)
Customers sort through packs at the annual Osprey sale at the Cortez Plaza in this file photo. (Journal file)
Osprey Packs donated more than 200 backpacks to students in the Montezuma-Cortez school district in 2019. (Journal file photo)

Helen of Troy Ltd., based in El Paso, Texas, is a publicly traded company on Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol HELE. On Tuesday, the stock fell about 3% while Nasdaq fell nearly 2%.

Helen of Troy is a designer, developer and worldwide marketer of consumer housewares, health, home and beauty products. It manages brands including Hydro Flask, OXO, Braun, Honeywell, Pur, Vicks, Revlon, Hot Tools Professional, Bed Head, Tigi, Sure, Pert and Drybar.

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The company said the Osprey acquisition “will be an important next step as it advances its strategic goal of acquiring and investing in businesses that can accelerate profitable growth in categories where it can add value and leverage its scalable shared services and operating platform.”

The purchase adds a ninth brand to Helen of Troy’s portfolio.

“Combining the capabilities, authenticity and credibility of this proven, highly respected outdoor pioneer with our global footprint and scalable global shared services creates opportunities for new efficiency and growth,” Mininberg stated. “Along with Hydro Flask, we can now serve and delight an even larger number of the passionate end users in the large and growing outdoor adventure category. We believe we are better together.”

Helen of Troy said the purchase of Osprey is expected to increase sales and profits margins, and “the company believes it is still in a position to ... deploy capital to generate shareholder return.”

Pfotenhauer founded Osprey Packs 47 years ago in Santa Cruz, California, with a dream of creating the perfect pack. The company moved to Dolores, and in 2017 built a modern headquarters in Cortez at 800 N. Park St.

“We first began custom making packs for mountaineers and adventure travelers headed to points unknown. Demand grew and grew and so did our expertise in design, manufacturing and on-time delivery,” Pfotenhauer said.

The company’s conservation ethic and devotion to outdoor adventure is reflected in its employees and backcountry gear, he said, and the sale will help the company grow.

“I know it will be in good hands with Helen of Troy, with its proven stewardship of outstanding brands and global scale. Its culture and values are highly consistent with Osprey,” Pfotenhauer said. “We expect the combination of Osprey and Helen of Troy to create significant opportunities for our employees, vendors and retail partners to experience the next phase of growth and meet even more of the needs of travelers everywhere on whatever trail they are on.”

Osprey’s products are manufactured in Vietnam, and a distribution center is in Ogden, Utah.

The sale is expected to close this year, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.