VF Corp. to buy Timberland
New York City — Apparel giant VF Corp., whose brands include Wrangler, The North Face, and Nautica, said it has agreed to buy Timberland Co. for approximately $2 billion. The deal, expected to close in the third quarter, values Timberland at $43 a share, a 43% premium to Friday’s closing price of $29.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.
“This will be a winning combination, leveraging VF’s international and direct-to-consumer platforms to drive growth in the Timberland and Smartwool brands globally,” Eric Wiseman, CEO, VF, said in a statement.
VF said it expected to boost Timberland sales by 10% annually, in part by growing the brand’s international business and helping it expand in Europe, Asia and Latin America. VF also will Timberland grow its apparel and women’s businesses, and open more retail.
“Timberland is proud of its rich heritage, its track record of success and its reputation as a responsible and environmentally conscious global citizen, all of which will be preserved and enhanced by becoming part of the VF family of brands,” Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland, said in a statement. “VF is known for its ability to acquire and grow authentic outdoor brands, while protecting a brand’s unique culture and DNA.”
According to reports, VF will make Timberland part of its outdoor and actions sports business, and Timberland’s headquarters will remain in Stratham, N.H.
VF plans to finance the deal through a combination of cash on hand, commercial paper and term debt.
Court upholds $188 million judgment against Wal-Mart
New York City — A Superior Court in Pennsylvania on Friday upheld a $187.6 million class action award against Wal-Mart Stores on allegations that its Pennsylvania employees were not properly compensated for off-the-clock work and missed rest breaks.
A panel said there was sufficient evidence at trial to conclude there had been a breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violations of state labor laws, the Associated Press reported.
The judges also ruled in a 211-page opinion that the presiding Philadelphia judge erred in determining some of the plaintiffs’ legal fees, and sent that part of the case back for recalculation.
The 2006 trial, which lasted 32 days, resulted in a finding that Wal-Mart did not pay employees for all the work they performed and did not let them take their paid, mandatory rest breaks, the judges wrote. The court awarded $46 million in attorneys’ fees, the report said.
Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said the chain believes the court decision was wrong in a number of respects and looks forward to additional review in the courts, according to the Associated Press. Rossiter said the company has settled numerous lawsuits in other states that involved similar allegations, and the Philadelphia case is the only active one that he knows of.
Williams-Sonoma launches international shipping
San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma said Monday that it will offer international shipping across its brands. The chain is partnering with FiftyOne Global Ecommerce, a leading provider of international e-commerce services and infrastructure to U.S. retailers.
Customers in more than 75 countries are now able to shop online for Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids products, the company said. The same service for West Elm and Williams-Sonoma should launch by the end of the month.