Pencarrow and co-investor take 38% stake in Icebreaker

The acquisition of the stake in the merino clothing company, described as an ‘emerging global champion’ provides the fund with the opportunity to scale the business ‘significantly’.

New Zealand’s Pencarrow Private Equity and a co- investor have acquired a 38 percent stake in New Zealand merino clothing company, Icebreaker, Pencarrow executive director Nigel Bingham told Private Equity International.

The terms of the acquisition and the name of the co-investor were not disclosed. “The company wanted to keep the investment reasonably low key,” Bingham said.

The deal “provides good diversification and represents an investment into what we term an ‘emerging global champion’, a category of investment we like for its opportunity to grow and scale significantly”, he added.

Pencarrow has put two directors on the Icebreaker board, Rod Gethen and Jonathan Goldstone. “As with all our investments we take an active interest through the governance role,” Bingham said.

There are more deal opportunities in the pipeline, he said.

Pencarrow’s investment was made through Fund IV which is nearly fully deployed and the firm plans to start fundraising for a new vehicle next year, as reported by PEI. Bingham told PEI in October that Fund IV was about to announce its sixth acquisition, that of a New Zealand brand.

Fund IV is a NZD $124 million ($81 million; €77 million) vehicle that closed in November 2011 targetting six to nine investments in lower to mid-market opportunities.

Pencarrow’s existing portfolio includes Bell Tea & Coffee Co, retirement village operator BeGroup, solar power firm SolarCity, 3D modelling company ARANZ Geo, and cloud hosting firm Umbrellar, as previously reported.