A.T. Cross completes Native Eyewear deal

NATIVE EYEWEAR will become part of the Cross Optical Group, along with the Costa Del Mar division A.T. Cross acquired in 2003. /
NATIVE EYEWEAR will become part of the Cross Optical Group, along with the Costa Del Mar division A.T. Cross acquired in 2003. /

LINCOLN – A.T. Cross Company (AMEX: ATX) this week completed its purchase of Native Eyewear Inc., a supplier of sport performance sunglasses and goggles, for $17.8 million cash plus the assumption of $1 million in short-term debt.
The Pennsylvania-based Native Eyewear had approximately $11 million in revenue last year. It markets a line of “All Sports All Polarized” sunglasses that are distributed nationwide, under the Native name, through clients including outdoor retailers L.L. Bean, REI and Eastern Mountain Sports. Retail prices range from $100 to $150.
The company will be run as part of A.T. Cross’s Optical Group, along with the Costa Del Mar brand the business and personal accessories company acquired in 2003.
“With a strong presence in the outdoor and mountain sports we believe this new partnership will allow the brand to grow in a dramatic fashion,” said Chase McDonald, president of Cross Optical Group and Costa Del Mar. “We are another strong step closer to our strategic goal of building a performance optical business that addresses the many categories of sport,” McDonald added.
“Native’s combination of strong distribution, proprietary technology and attractive price points, coupled with its lifestyle marketing philosophy, make it a seamless fit with our brand-building and business-development strategy.”
The deal – first announced last week (READ MORE) – is expected to add about 7 cents per share to the company’s earnings in 2009, based on current business trends, and including anticipated closing and financing costs, A.T. Cross said. The company said an amended credit arrangement, signed Monday, provides for borrowings of up to $35 million and expires in 2011.
“We are very pleased to join the A.T. Cross organization,” Jason Wildman, president and CEO of Native Eyewear, said in a statement Monday night.
“We believe that there is an excellent opportunity to expand our distribution and grow our brand, and that the Cross organization will help us achieve those goals. The success they have had with Costa Del Mar shows us that they have a clear path to growth and the expertise necessary to fulfill our potential in the market.”
A.T. Cross Co. (AMEX: ATX) is a designer and maker of branded personal and business accessories including writing instruments, leather goods, time pieces and Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Additional information is available at www.cross.com. To learn more about Native Eyewear Inc., visit www.NativeEyewear.com.

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