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Canada Goose bought by U.S.-based Bain Capital

Former Mitt Romney firm buys winter jacket maker

CBC News Posted: Dec 10, 2013 1:52 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 11, 2013 8:21 AM ET

A Canada Goose employee sews a jacket at the company's factory in Toronto. The company is a frequent target of counterfeiters.

A Canada Goose employee sews a jacket at the company's factory in Toronto. The company is a frequent target of counterfeiters. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)


Canada Goose plucked by Bain 2:25

Canada Goose plucked by Bain 2:25


Canada Goose bought by Bain Capital 2:40

Canada Goose bought by Bain Capital 2:40

New York private equity firm Bain Capital has bought a majority stake in Canadian winter gear manufacturer Canada Goose for an undisclosed sum.

The two companies announced the deal in a news release Tuesday.

Founded in Toronto in 1957, Canada Goose makes winter apparel for use in extreme low temperatures. Its goods are sold in more than 50 countries and are a frequent target for counterfeiters. The company has grown to employ more than 1,000 people in manufacturing facilities in various parts of Canada.

Bain, a private equity firm with offices across the U.S., has previously invested in a number of Canadian companies in their early stages, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Bombardier Recreational Products, and BTI Systems.

Former U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney was a co-founder of Bain Capital and spent the majority of his career there before entering politics.

The two companies say Bain's involvement will help spur the jacket-maker's international expansion plans.

"Bain Capital has a long and impressive track record of successfully investing in beloved Canadian companies, and we are thrilled to bring them on board. They're the right partner with the right resources and people to help us reach our potential," said Canada Goose president and CEO Dani Reiss, who will remain with the company after the deal closes.

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Made-in-Canada still key for Canada Goose after sale to U.S. private-equity firm Bain, CEO says

Canada Goose president and CEO Dani Reiss isn't nervous about selling his quintessential Canadian-made outerwear company to Bain Capital, even with the U.S. private equity firm's notorious reputation for outsourcing

Matthew Sherwood for National Post

Canada Goose president and chief executive Dani Reiss isn’t nervous about selling his quintessential Canadian-made outerwear company to Bain Capital, even with the U.S. private equity firm’s notorious reputation for outsourcing.

“Made in Canada is extremely important, and extremely important to Canada Goose, and we’ve chosen partners to whom it is also extremely important to,” Mr. Reiss said in an interview. “And I have no expectation that that’s going to change. If I thought that it was going to change, I would not have done this deal.”

Made in Canada is extremely important . . . and we’ve chosen partners to whom it is also extremely important

The Toronto-based, family-owned extreme-weather outerwear company announced Tuesday that it has agreed to sell a “majority stake” to Boston-based Bain. The financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

Mr. Reiss will remain president and chief executive of the company, and will retain a “significant minority stake” in Canada Goose, telling Reuters his stake will be more than 10%.

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Canada Goose was founded in a small Toronto-warehouse in 1957 by Mr. Reiss’s grandfather Sam Tick. But the brand has taken off rapidly in the last decade by marketing its Made-In-Canada ethos and trendy goose down parkas with red, white and blue circular patches to Europeans, who have flocked to the outerwear. Celebrities such as Toronto-born rapper Drake have been spotted donning the puffy coats.

Canada Goose apparel — with jackets that retail for upwards of $1,000 — is now sold in more than 50 countries. The company employs more than 1,000 people around the globe, but its products are made in Toronto and Winnipeg (when many manufacturers are moving production to locales with lower labour costs). Canada Goose has annual sales of roughly $200-million, according to Reuters.

In April, the company appointed investment bank Canaccord Genuity to begin shopping around for a minority partner to introduce additional equity into the company. They chose Bain Capital because they were the “best partner,” given their global reach, said Mr. Reiss.

“We thought that they brought the best value to the table, and they were only interested in a majority deal,” he said. “And we decided this was the right move for our company, and the right move for our family.”

Bain Capital, which has roughly US$70-billion in assets under management, has a history of investing in Canadian consumer brands, such as Shoppers Drug Mart, and Bombardier Recreational Products, now called BRP Inc. Earlier this year, the Valcourt, Que.-based motor sports manufacturer raised $262.3-million — making it one of the largest initial public offerings in the country this year.

“Dani and the Canada Goose management team have already accomplished a great deal in establishing the premium outerwear category and creating a unique global brand that exudes authenticity,” said Ryan Cotton, a principal at Bain Capital, in a press release. “We are very excited to employ our global resources and experience to help the team continue to build the business and fuel an even more successful future.”

But Bain Capital has also has a history of investing in companies that outsourced U.S. jobs — a past which hurt Bain’s co-founder Mitt Romney during his failed bid to run for U.S. president in 2012.

Mr. Reiss is adamant Canada Goose will continue to be made on Canadian soil.

In May, the outerwear company said it had plans to open a U.S. headquarters in Denver, Co., but had no intention to move production south of the border. That plan remains, Mr. Reiss says.

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

With a minority stake, he does not necessarily have the final word — but Mr. Reiss says continuing to make Canada Goose in Canada is key for Bain as well.

“We have chosen partners who will make the right decision for the business, and the right decision for Canada Goose is to be made in Canada,” he said. “And that is a sentiment that did not exist until we proved it was possible.”

There’s a lot of places we can grow, there’s a lot of ways we can grow. There’s a lot of runway left

An initial public offering for Canada Goose is not on the table, at this time, he added. Their focus is to expand the Canada Goose brand, extending its reach geographically, particularly to Asia. It recently entered the Korean market, and it is targeting China, he said.

“There’s a lot of places we can grow, there’s a lot of ways we can grow. There’s a lot of runway left,” he said.

Mr. Reiss and the Canada Goose management team will continue to run the company, but Bain will have board representation.

“This is something I intend to do for a long time to come,” Mr. Reiss said.

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