Norway's Helly Hansen buys British sailing brand Musto

OSLO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Norwegian outdoor clothing company Helly Hansen has agreed to buy British sports brand Musto from Phoenix Equity Partners and other shareholders for an undisclosed sum, it said on Thursday.

The Musto acquisition would help further its ambitions to grow in the British market and reinforce its position as a sailing clothes specialist, Helly Hansen said.

Musto was set up in the 1960s by Olympic sailor Keith Musto.

"Our focus will be to expand Musto internationally as an iconic British lifestyle brand with deep technical sailing credentials alongside Helly Hansen," Helly Hansen Chief Executive Paul Stoneham said in a statement.

Musto CEO Peter Smith will continue to run the business and report to Stoneham, who will become executive chairman of Musto.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the deal could be valued at around 50 million pounds ($66 million), citing an anonymous source. A Helly Hansen company spokesman told Reuters he would not confirm the price.

Helly Hansen, founded in Norway in 1877, is majority owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, one of Canada's largest pension funds. ($1 = 0.7602 pounds) (Reporting by Camilla Knudsen; Editing by Gwladys Fouche/Keith Weir)