Polaris Buys Majority Stake in Swedish Active-Wear Stronger

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Danish private equity firm Polaris Equity said it bought a 51% stake in Stronger AB, with the aim to more than triple revenue at the Swedish online active-wear brand.

The three founders -- Henrik Grunden, Juri Gendelman and Joel Almqvist -- will hold the remaining 49% stake, the company said. The stake was purchased by the Polaris Private Equity V fund in a transaction that values the company at more than 1 billion kronor ($120 million), according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

“Stronger operates in an attractive growth market driven by an increased focus on health and fitness, and we see great potential for further growth -- primarily through continued international expansion,” Johan Pernvi, a partner at Polaris, said in a statement.

Polaris Buys Majority Stake in Swedish Active-Wear Stronger

The Stockholm-based company was founded in 2014, has 40 employees and reached revenue of 300 million kronor last year as it delivered more than half a million leggings to customers across the globe, Polaris said. Sales are forecast to reach 1 billion kronor next year, underpinned by growth abroad. About 40% of revenue currently comes from its home market, while Germany and Benelux make up the bulk of exports. The U.K. and U.S. are among its fastest-growing markets.

The pandemic hasn’t had any noticeable impact on the online retailer’s growth trajectory, Stronger CEO Annica Rantala said in a phone interview, adding that the reopening of gyms and studios as restrictions are removed may spur demand.

“The leisure trend began long before Covid and we predict that it will remain in place for the foreseeable future,” she said.

The company is making enough money to finance its growth, so no fresh capital will be injected as part of the transaction, Rantala said.

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