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 Ariat International announced Jan. 13 the acquisition of The SMD Group Ltd., a recognized leader in the sales, marketing and distribution of premium equestrian goods in the U.K. SMD has been Ariat's exclusive distributor in the U.K. since 1997. 

"The SMD Group is an excellent addition to the Ariat team as we continue to grow our business aggressively in the U.K. and throughout Europe," said Beth Cross, president and CEO of Ariat. "Ariat and SMD have enjoyed a long history together, and with this acquisition we are taking another important step in our ongoing efforts to build the Ariat brand in every major market around the world. Looking ahead, we believe our prospects for growth continue to be excellent, and we are fully committed to capitalizing on the positive momentum in the U.K. and European markets."

"Importantly, because we have been building our talent base around the world — the opportunity to acquire talent of the caliber of the SMD organization was a major factor for us when evaluating this acquisition. The present SMD team will stay intact, and we're certainly pleased to have them on board," Cross said.

"Speaking for the SMD organization, we are thrilled to become a part of the Ariat team," said Phil Duff, founder and managing director of SMD. "In joining Ariat, we become part of a company that is a leader in the equestrian industry and is committed to collaborating with us to grow our business. With the Ariat infrastructure and management team behind us, we'll be positioned to maximize the potential of the Ariat brand in the U.K. market."

Ariat will retain SMD's management, sales, marketing and supporting staff. The company will continue operations at its current headquarters and warehouse facility in Faringdon, near Oxford, UK.
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