Pencarrow takes 38% stake in Icebreaker, appoints two directors

The private equity firm has taken the stake in Icebreaker via two holding companies.

UPDATEDIcebreaker mum on Pencarrow stake as Moon family cedes control

EARLIERPencarrow Private Equity, whose past investments have included paper merchant BJ Ball and buggy maker Phil & Teds, has taken a 38 percent stake in merino wool clothing company Icebreaker.

The Wellington-based private equity firm has taken the stake in Icebreaker via two holding companies, with Pencarrow executive director Rod Gethen and investment director Jonathan Goldstone joining the clothing maker's board, according to documents lodged with the Companies Office.

Pencarrow executive director Nigel Bingham said his firm had taken a stake through its Fund IV, but terms of the deal were confidential.

The private equity firm opened Fund IV in 2011, raising $124 million for six to nine investments over a five-year period. So far, its existing portfolio includes Bell Tea & Coffee Co, retirement village operator BeGroup, solar power firm SolarCity, 3D modelling company ARANZ Geo, and cloud hosting firm Umbrellar.

The shareholding puts Pencarrow on level footing with Icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon and his family interests, who collectively hold about 37 percent, while Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall's K1W1 investment firm owns about 9.5 percent of the stock. TradeMe founder Sam Morgan's Jasmine Investment Holdings has a 2.6 percent stake in Icebreaker.

Icebreaker more than doubled the number of shares on issue through a series of transactions including the Pencarrow investment, which has whittled down the Moon family's control from 75 percent, and introduced a new constitution

In July, Icebreaker's board approved the issue of new shares at $37.03 apiece as part of a long-term incentive scheme, according to Companies Office documents lodged last month.

Last year Icebreaker hired former Air New Zealand boss Rob Fyfe as chief executive, replacing Jeremy Moon who became executive chairman.

Icebreaker wasn't immediately available for comment.