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Ibex Partners with Equity Firm

Published September 26, 2010

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT (BRAIN)—Ibex Outdoor Clothing Holdings has joined forces with North Castle Partners.

North Castle Partners is a leading private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in consumer-driven product and service businesses that benefit from "Healthy Living and Aging" trends. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.

The new relationship will allow Ibex to manage and finance new multi-channel sales and marketing initiatives while benefiting from North Castle’s prior experience in the fitness and recreation industries. Ibex also will benefit from the expertise of North Castle’s team in the areas of strategy, marketing, operations and information technology.

“When we went on a search for capital to help us grow the business, we put the people before the cash,” said John Fernsell, founder and CEO of Ibex. “We made it very clear to our investment banker that the actual money was third on the list after compatibility and experience. We are happy to partner with North Castle Partners because of their understanding of our industry, the belief in our products, and their commitment to values will allow us to grow the Ibex business without compromise.”

North Castle Partners is well known in the fitness, recreation and related industries. In addition to Ibex, North Castle has a controlling interest in Performance Bicycle, the largest independent bicycle dealer and direct marketer of bicycles and cycling accessories in the United States, as well as Octane Fitness, Cascade Helmets and World Health, and has had prior successful investments with Equinox Fitness and EAS.

"We are proud to partner with the management of this iconic brand and help them more widely distribute their high quality, high performance merino wool products,” said Chip Baird, North Castle’s managing partner.

“Based on the growing consumer preference toward natural and sustainable fibers, we expect Ibex to grow into a leading technical apparel brand in the outdoor softgoods market driven by the authenticity of its brand and the quality of its products,” said DJ Jenson, North Castle operating advisor.

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