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Maui woman sells baby carrier company in $91 million deal

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    Karin Frost demonstrates the ERGO Baby Carrier she developed in 2002. She's still able to use it with her son, Keala Kaj, 5.

A Maui woman who once lived out of a van and took showers at the beach has sold a majority stake in her 7-year-old baby carrier business for $91 million.

Karin Frost, owner of Pukalani-based ERGO Baby Carrier Inc., agreed to sell 84 percent of the company she started in her home to a Connecticut firm that invests in mid-size businesses with attractive growth prospects.

Compass Diversified Holdings announced that it is paying Frost a combination of cash, Compass stock and assumption of debt totaling $91 million. The shares of Compass stock are worth $6.9 million. The cash and debt figures were not disclosed.

Frost, now 49, founded ERGO Baby in 2003 to make backpack-style baby carriers after the one she made for herself as a new mom in 2002 caught on with friends.

Frost set up manufacturing in China, and hit it real big after the 20th anniversary issue of Parenting Magazine in 2007 named the ERGO Baby Carrier one of its Top 20 products in the past 20 years.

Today ERGO Baby sells its baby carriers and other products through 700 retailers and web shops in about 20 countries.

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