June 21, 2012, 10:39 AM

A U.S. retailer buys an operator of 14 European e-commerce sites

Sports equipment and apparel retailer Zumiez is buying a similar Austrian firm.

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Zumiez, a U.S. retailer of action sports equipment and apparel, has agreed to buy Blue Tomato, a similar retailer based in Austria, in a deal worth nearly 60 million euros (US$76 million). Zumiez will pay an additional 22 million euros ($28 million) if certain undisclosed performance objectives are achieved over the next three years.

Zumiez–which is listed on the tech-heavy NASDAQ market and has a market capitalization of $1.28 billion–will fund the purchase through cash and stock. The deal is set to close in the next few weeks.

“When I decided to sell the company I could not imagine a better fit for how we operate than Zumiez,” says Gerfried Schuller, founder of Blue Tomato. “We have built the leading action sports retail company in Europe and now we will be a part of the leading action sports retailer in the United States. Starting today, Zumiez and Blue Tomato are ready to begin a new journey to become the world’s leader in action sports retailing.”

As part of the deal, Blue Tomato–which operates five bricks-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce sites in 14 languages–will continue to be headquartered in Schladming, a small town in central Austria, and Schuller and his management team will continue in their roles.

Blue Tomato posted net sales of 29 million euros ($37 million) for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2012. Around 75% of its sales stemmed from the web. Zumiez, No. 252 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide operates 434 bricks-and-mortar  stores in the U.S. and 10 in Canada, as well as an e-commerce site. For the fiscal year ended Jan. 28, 2012, Zumiez reported net income of $37 million.

“Joining forces with Blue Tomato represents the next step in our strategic plan to build the leading global action sports retail business,” says Rick Brooks, CEO of Zumiez. “Europe has a large, vibrant and growing action sports community, which Gerfried [Schuller of Blue Tomato] and his team have skillfully tapped into through a broad offering of authentic brands and products, a differentiated retail experience, and superior customer service.”

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