Wrangler parent VF to buy Timberland for $2 bln

June 13 - VF Corp, owner of clothing brands such as The North Face and Wrangler jeans, said it would buy shoemaker Timberland Co for $2 billion to boost its outdoor gear business.

VF Corporation, Timberland, Wrangler
Timberland shoes

The deal values Timberland at $43 a share, a 43 percent premium to Friday's closing price of $29.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The companies expect the deal, which both boards approved unanimously, to add to VF's earnings per share by 25 cents in 2011 and by 75 cents in 2012, including acquisition-related expenses.

"The price is fair," Susquehanna analyst Christopher Svezia said. "At first blush, it seems a bit expensive, but I think Timberland is definitely on the upswing in terms of their business, margins, revenues."

The news boosted Timberland shares by 42.6 percent to $42.76 and VF by 12 percent to $102.85 in premarket trading.

Svezia downplayed the chances of another bidder coming in.

"The only one would probably be a Nike or (French retail group) PPR as speculation, but I will be surprised," Svezia said, adding that both companies have already had their chances to look at Timberland.

Timberland, home to its namesake label and brands such as Mountain Athletics and SmartWool, expects 2011 revenue of $1.6 billion, more than half of which is generated internationally.

The parties expect the deal to close in the third quarter and add about $700 million to VF's 2011 revenue.

VF said it expected to boost Timberland sales by 10 percent annually by using its distribution channels in Europe, Asia and Latin America and expanding the acquisition's women's footwear and apparel business.

VF plans to finance the deal through a combination of cash on hand, commercial paper and term debt.

Law firm Ropes & Gray advised Timberland on the deal.

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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