Icebreaker Acquired, to be Sister Brand of The North Face

The New Zealand brand Icebreaker rose to prominence over two decades designing base layers and merino shirts. Now, it will operate under the VF Corporation umbrella.

Icebreaker acquired by VF Corp
Icebreaker’s merino apparel and outerwear has built a core following

VF Corporation, the parent company of The North Face, Timberland, SmartWool, and others, will acquire Icebreaker. The company announced this week it will complete the deal in 2018. VF Corp. and Icebreaker did not disclose terms of the agreement.

Icebreaker is a privately-held company based in Auckland, New Zealand. It employs 340 people making and selling products from base layers to jackets, all from natural fibers.

Jeremy Moon founded Icebreaker in 1995. It now sees about $150 million of annual revenue. It bases its entire product line on merino wool, plant-based fibers, and recycled fibers.

Icebreaker Acquired By VF Corp.

In a press release, VF Corp. noted its new acquisition will position it as a leader in the “growing and under-penetrated natural fiber category.” (Note that VF Corp.-owned SmartWool, a Colorado-based company, also sells merino socks and apparel.)

We have long covered Icebreaker and founder Jeremy Moon. In our recent interview with Moon, he opened up about how he launched the brand after a farmer gave him a wool shirt. From humble beginnings, the brand grew steadily over two decades.

Icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon
Icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon

“I founded Icebreaker to offer a natural choice to adventurers, and to build a global brand from New Zealand,” said Moon.

“Our partnership with VF provides us with the largest platform in the world to tell our story, access new markets, and reach new consumers at an accelerated pace.”

Moon said the acquisition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Icebreaker and its wool suppliers “to introduce a whole new universe of consumers to the benefits of sustainably-farmed, ethically-sourced, New Zealand merino wool.”

Icebreaker will continue to operate as a unique brand and will maintain staff operations in New Zealand.