The sale announced last week of Stokke AS, maker of the internationally popular TrippTrapp stool for children and adults, is likely to result in a huge cash infusion for the Norwegian families owning it. Rune Stokke and his companies alone may wind up with NOK 1.6 billion (USD 270 million).
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) and financial news service Bloomberg reported that proceeds from the sale, believed to be around NOK 3 billion, will be split between owners Single Holding AS, with 92 percent of the stock, and Single 1 AS, with 8 percent. The latter is owned in roughly one-third shares by, among others, Wilhelm Mohn and his family, who’s likely to to get around NOK 90 million just four years after buying into Stokke.
Founded in the 1930s by Georg Stokke, the company has evolved from being a furniture maker in the mountains above the Geiranger Fjord to a company that also produces baby carriages and other products aimed at families with children. Georg Stokke’s early innovation, not least in hiring in-house designers, continued to the latest generation, which has seen huge success with its adjustable TrippTrapp stool and the unusual high-seated baby carriage that sold better abroad than at home.
Stokke’s buyer, backed by South Korean investor and businessman Kim Jung-Ju, has invested in child-oriented ventures before and Rune Stokke wrote in a press release that he believes Stokke will “continue to blossom” under its new owners. Kim Jung-Ju’s Belgian-based firm NXMH and its Korean-based family firm NXC reportedly see “considerable growth potential internationally.”
Local newspaper Sunnmørsposten reported that Stokke has been highly profitable in recent years. The sale “is a bit sad, I have worked in the company for more than 20 years,” Rune Stokke told Sunnmørsposten. “Now the family will begin to think about what we will do with the values we have realized, but we won’t do anything rash.”