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Samsonite Buys Speck

Hong Kong – Luggage maker Samsonite International has acquired device case maker Speck Products from private equity firm VMG Partners in an $85 million cash deal.

 “It is an exciting acquisition for us, as it marks our first foray outside of what is considered the ‘traditional’ luggage space, into a different, yet complementary, product segment,” said said Tim Parker, chairman/CEO of Samsonite.

Speck produces a wide range of case lines for smartphones, tablets and laptops and has broad distribution in Apple Stores, big-box retailers and carrier stores. The NPD Group places them in the top four smartphone case manufacturers.

NPD pegs the U.S. smartphone case market alone at $2.3 billion annually, and according to International Data Corporation, global smartphone and tablet shipments are forecast to grow 14.4 percent annually from 2013 to 2017, driving the growth of the protective case market.

“With many consumers purchasing multiple cases for each device they own, there is enormous potential,” said Tom Korbas, president, Americas, for Samsonite. “With Samsonite’s resources, depth of experience and well-established distribution capability, we can further strengthen Speck’s business in the U.S., which contributed approximately 80 percent of Speck’s sales in 2013, and significantly expand the brand’s presence across Asia, Europe and Latin America.”

Irene Baran, CEO of Speck Products, added, “We are thrilled about joining Samsonite. Although Speck experienced a temporary setback in 2013 from its historically strong results when the business was impacted by an industrywide overhang in inventory from 2012, efforts to restructure the business are already well underway. The opportunity to leverage Samsonite’s established infrastructure and excellence in operations and marketing will enable us to take advantage of the anticipated strong growth in the smartphone and tablet industries to position Speck as a global market leader.”

Samsonite is expected to retain Speck’s workforce and operate the business as a stand-alone brand. Baran will remain Speck CEO.

Speck, founded in Silicon Valley in 2001, reported net sales of $104.8 million in the 2013 calendar year.