Kathmandu Acquires Surf Brand Rip Curl

New Zealand-based retailer Kathmandu Holdings Ltd. today announced it will acquire Rip Curl for $236 million.

Rip Curl is an iconic global surf brand and action sports company. Surfer friends Brian Singer and Douglas Warbrick founded the company in 1969. Since then, it has grown into a massive lifestyle company.

It manufactures everything from wetsuits and surf shorts to watches and rompers. Rip Curl sells products across wholesale, retail, and online channels. The brand has a presence in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Brazil.

Now, it will fall under a growing retail empire. The largest outdoor retailer in New Zealand and Australia, Kathmandu picked up Oboz footwear in March of 2018. Now, with the acquisition of Rip Curl, it creates a global outdoor and action sports company with more than NZ$1 billion combined annual revenue.

According to the Kathmandu, with the acquisition will come “a deeper and more meaningful global presence, with a combined footprint of 341 owned retail stores, 254 licensed stores, and over 7,300 wholesale doorways globally.”

Kathmandu: A Major Investment in Surf

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Kathmandu to grow and diversify,” said Kathmandu CEO Xavier Simonet. “The combination of Kathmandu, Oboz, and Rip Curl achieves diversification in product, channel, geography, and seasonality, and creates a platform for the acceleration of our brands’ global expansion into new channels and markets.”

Kathmandu Rip Curl

The acquisition will diversify Kathmandu’s product offering, with Rip Curl’s summer and beach focus providing a seasonal balance to Kathmandu’s winter and outdoor focus, the brand noted in a release.

Perhaps more importantly, Rip Curl has a strong presence in North America and Europe. Kathmandu has made inroads in both markets, which are strategic priorities. It hopes the acquisition will accelerate its international expansion into these key regions, it noted.

Rip Curl CEO Michael Daly will continue to lead Rip Curl from its headquarters in Torquay, Australia.

“We wish to acknowledge the role that Rip Curl’s founders have played in building the iconic status of the Rip Curl brand internationally as well as its unique cultural identity, and are pleased that the founders and CEO wish to remain invested in the ongoing success of Rip Curl under Kathmandu ownership,” Simonet said.

Sean McCoy
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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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