Samsonite to Buy Tumi for About $1.8 Billion in Biggest Deal

  • Deal values competitor Tumi at about three times revenue
  • Luggage-maker diversifying in effort to more than double sales

Samsonite CEO: Tumi Is a 'Perfect Fit' for Our Business

Samsonite International SA, the world’s largest branded-luggage maker, agreed to buy luxury baggage maker Tumi Holdings Inc. for about $1.8 billion in its biggest acquisition.

Tumi investors will receive $26.75 per share in cash, Samsonite said in a Hong Kong stock exchange statement on Friday. That’s about 33 percent more than the New Jersey-based company’s closing price on Wednesday, before a possible takeover was reported.

“We have always wanted to have Tumi in our portfolio,” Samsonite Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Tainwala said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday. The company plans to retain Tumi’s design team, in order to ensure the quality of the luxury brand remains intact, he said.

Samsonite shares rose as much as 6.3 percent to HK$25.20 in Hong Kong trading, the highest intraday level in four months. The stock traded 0.6 percent higher as of 2:49 p.m. local time. Tumi jumped 30 percent to $26.20 at the close of U.S. trading Thursday.

$1,300 Bags

Tumi, which sells bags for as much as about $1,300 according to its website, has 177 standalone stores worldwide and plans to open 15 to 20 more this year, with an increasing focus on international markets. Net sales increased 4 percent to $547.7 million in 2015.

Although two-third of Tumi’s sales come from the U.S., “the real opportunity is outside North America,” Tainwala said in a separate Bloomberg interview. Mansfield, Massachusetts-based Samsonite’s experience can help make up for Tumi’s limited presence in the Asia and Europe, he said.

“I won’t be surprised to see 50 percent of Tumi’s sales contributed by Asia in next five years,” he said. Samsonite derived 38 percent of its 2014 sales from Asian countries, including about 10 percent from China. The region accounted for 17 percent of Tumi’s sales last year, with 68 percent from North America, according to the Friday statement.

The Tumi acquisition reinforces Samsonite’s position as the world’s largest luggage maker, said Bloomberg Intelligence consumer analyst Catherine Lim. The rest of the competitors that Samsonite’s businesses are exposed to “are small in scale and unlikely to replicate its scale in the near term,” she said.

Double Sales

Samsonite has announced nine acquisitions since 2012 as it expands into distributing and selling other travel and non-travel bag brands, with plans to double annual sales to $4.7 billion in the six years ending 2020.

Tumi has net cash of about $94 million, bringing the transaction value to $1.71 billion. The deal values Tumi at about 3 times its trailing 12 month revenue, double the 1.5 times median for acquisitions in the apparel, footwear and accessories segment the past three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Samsonite will finance the Tumi acquisition fully with loans, and the currently “historically low” interest rates makes it a favorable time for the company to raise debt, Chief Financial Officer Kyle Gendreau said in a briefing in Hong Kong. Samsonite has cash and near-cash equivalents of $203 million as of end-June 2015.

On Friday, Tainwala said that Samsonite wouldn’t rule out more acquisitions but that the company is now focused on integrating Tumi. The CEO has long had his eye on Tumi, saying in 2012 when he was in charge of Asia and the Middle East that the smaller company was a “natural fit.” Five months later, Tainwala’s predecessor Parker ruled out buying Tumi, saying it was too expensive.

The Wall Street Journal reported March 3 that Samsonite was near a purchase of Tumi.

Morgan Stanley advised Samsonite on the acquisition. Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., HSBC, Morgan Stanley, National Association and SunTrust Bank will arrange the debt financing for the transaction. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised Tumi.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.