Polartec LLC’s parent, Versa Capital Management, is seeking a buyer for the century-old maker of the Polarfleece material, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Versa is seeking about $200 million, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Moelis & Co. is advising on the sale, the people said. A spokeswoman for Versa declined to comment.
Founded in 1906 as Malden Knitting, Polartec made military uniforms and other woolen clothes before expanding into synthetic fabrics. In 1979, the Lawrence, Massachusetts-based apparel maker debuted Polarfleece, later named one of the 100 most important inventions of the 20th century by Time magazine, according to the company’s website.
Polarfleece is meant to mimic wool, only lighter. The material is used in jackets, sweaters and shorts. Retailers including Polo Ralph Lauren market clothing using the fabric.
Versa, a Philadelphia-based investment firm formerly known as Chrysalis Capital Partners, acquired Polartec in 2007 after the clothing maker filed for bankruptcy protection. The filing was the second since a 1995 fire destroyed the company’s factory in Lawrence, according to legal documents.
After the fire, then-Chief Executive Officer Aaron Feuerstein continued to pay employees for months while the company rebuilt, according to the legal documents. The move earned him national attention, including a “60 Minutes” profile that dubbed him “The Mensch of Malden.”