Samsonite International S.A. (SEHK: 1910) is a luggage manufacturer and retailer, with products ranging from large suitcases to small toiletries bags and briefcases. The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, United States. Its registered office is in Luxembourg and it is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
|Traded as||SEHK: 1910|
|Founded||Denver, Colorado, 1910|
|Headquarters||Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (registered office)|
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (financial)
The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, on March 10, 1910 by Black Hawk, Colorado-born luggage salesman Jesse Shwayder (1882–1970) as the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company. A religious man, Shwayder named one of his initial cases Samson, after the Biblical strongman, and began using the trademark Samsonite in 1941 for its tapered vulcanized fiber suitcase, introduced in 1939. In 1965 after the Samsonite suitcase became its best-selling product, the company changed its name to SAMSONITE. For many years the subsidiary SAMSONITE Furniture Co. made folding chairs and card tables in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The Shwayder family sold the company to Beatrice Foods in 1973. Samsonite operated with relative independence within Beatrice until 1986, when the company was sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Subsequently, the company went through multiple changes of ownership in the 1980s and into the 1990s. First, Samsonite was spun off from KKR as part of E-II, which came under the control of American Brands. E-II went through bankruptcy and was renamed Astrum International. In 1993, Astrum purchased American Tourister luggage, complementing Samsonite. In 1995, Astrum split, and an independent Samsonite (now including American Tourister) was once again headquartered in Denver.
The Denver factory, which employed 4,000 at its peak, closed in May 2001. Samsonite headquarters moved from Denver to Mansfield, Massachusetts, after a change of ownership in May 2005. CVC Capital Partners Ltd. in July 2007 became Samsonite's fifth owner in 21 years.
Samsonite moved its US marketing and sales offices from 91 Main Street in Warren, Rhode Island, to Mansfield, Massachusetts, effective September 1, 2005.
On September 2, 2009 Samsonite Company Store LLC (U.S. Retail Division), formally known as Samsonite Company Stores Inc, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It planned to close up to 50% of its stores and discontinue the "Black Label" brand in the United States.
In August 2012 Samsonite paid $35 million in cash to buy the high-end luggage brand Hartmann, which was founded in 1877.
In March 2016 Samsonite agreed to buy luxury baggage maker Tumi for $1.8 billion in its largest ever acquisition.
Beginning in 1961, Samsonite manufactured and distributed Lego building toys for the North American market under license from the Danish parent firm. A licensing dispute ended the arrangement in the U.S. in 1972, but Samsonite remained the distributor in Canada until 1986. Albert H. Reckler, then head of Military and export sales for the luggage division, brought the idea of manufacturing and selling Lego in the U.S. to Samsonite. He and Stan A. Clamage were instrumental in establishing the Lego brand in the United States. This was part of an overall company expansion into toy manufacturing in the 1960s that was abandoned in the 1970s.
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- Toys catalogue (photo gallery), Samsonite, 1972.
- "After shoes, Samsonite plans watches, eyewear". The Hindu Business Line. September 18, 2008. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
- "Samsonite opens second factory in Hungary". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- "Samsonite Enters Market For Protective Mobile Device Cases With Acquisition Of US-Based Company Speck Products". www.marketwatch.com. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
- "Samsonite to acquire Tumi for US$26.75 per share to create a leading global travel lifestyle company" (PDF).