Helly Hansen, the Norwegian technical outdoor brand, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire UK sailing and country apparel brand Musto for an undisclosed sum. The news comes not long after the company was put up for sale by its owner, Phoenix Equity Partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With this transaction, Helly Hansen says it will become a global leader in professional sailing apparel, complementing its existing leadership position in professional skiing apparel and enhancing its presence in the UK outdoor market.

Peter Smith, CEO of Musto, will continue to lead the business and will report to Helly Hansen CEO Paul Stoneham, who will also become executive chairman of Musto.

"Musto accelerates Helly Hansen's long-term aspiration to become a global leader in sailing, matching our leadership position in professional skiing,” says Stoneham. “Our focus will be to expand Musto internationally as an iconic British lifestyle brand with deep technical sailing credentials alongside Helly Hansen. The two brands are highly complementary and hold in common a deep regard for the sailing community and commitment to preserving our oceans."

Musto claims to be the British brand of choice for professional yachtsmen and world-class dinghy sailors, serving as the official clothing supplier to the British Olympic sailing and equestrian teams.

Over the last three years, Helly Hansen has invested in brand and product development, while focusing its core product offering and enhancing distribution channels. The Musto acquisition enhances this by providing a differentiated product offering that will operate alongside Helly Hansen as a premium specialist brand.

Helly Hansen says it will invest in Musto's international growth ambitions as well as deepen its technological and sourcing capabilities.

"We are delighted that Peter and his team have found a new owner that will continue to support the brand's development, particularly in international markets," says Hugh Lenon, chairman of Phoenix Equity Partners and Musto. "We wish Musto and Helly Hansen every success as they embark together on the next phase of Musto's growth."

Musto CEO Peter Smith adds: "This is an incredibly exciting next phase in Musto's evolution and we are invigorated by the prospect of working with a business as complementary to our own as Helly Hansen. We look forward to leveraging Helly Hansen's global network and R&D capabilities, as we grow our market leading position in sailing, country and outdoor apparel."