Detroit’s Huron Capital Partners Acquires Vermont-based Novelty Sock Company

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Detroit’s Huron Capital Partners, a lower-middle-market private equity firm, today announced its socks and apparel accessories platform, IQ Brands, has acquired Wheel House Designs, a producer of novelty socks to stores and boutiques throughout North America. The deal marks the fourth add-on acquisition for the IQ Brands platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wheel House is based in Vermont and has designed and distributed more than 450 variations of novelty socks over the past 30 years.

“We are excited to join the IQ Brands platform and work with Huron Capital’s team of industry experts,” says Gail Bourne, founder and designer at Wheel House, who will continue to work on design projects. “We believe this is a mutually beneficial opportunity that will enhance product offerings, increase customer bases, and expand growth prospects.”

Wheel House offers socks across 12 categories: dogs, birds, cats, country, garden, novelty, wildlife, life on the coast, life in the southwest, holiday, winter and warm, and children’s. One of the company’s first products was cow-spotted socks for Ben and Jerry’s.

“We believe that Wheel House Designs, known for its imaginative, playful designs, along with its commitment to quality craftsmanship, will be a great fit with IQ Brands’ roster of well-known retail and corporate brands,” says Brian Rassel, vice president at Huron Capital. “This acquisition provides additional design and operational resources, which we believe will further enhance the platform and help to solidify its position as a leader in the sock and apparel accessories market.”

IQ Brands is based in North Carolina and was originally founded as Socks and Accessories Brands Global. It has made three previous acquisitions: Twin City Knitting Co., TopSox, and IQ Brands. IQ Brands has an in-house design team and sells private-label, licensed, and branded merchandise to specialty footwear retailers, sporting goods stores, department stores, and discount retailers.

Huron Capital is an operationally focused private equity firm with a history of growing lower middle-market companies through its ExecFactor buy-and-build investment model. It was founded in 1999, has raised more than $1.8 billion in capital through six committed private equity funds, and invested in more than 150 companies.

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