NEW YORK, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Fenway Partners, Inc., a private equity
firm that invests in and builds branded goods companies, today announced that
it has acquired controlling interest in Riddell Sports Group, Inc., one of the
most recognizable brands in sports. A fund managed by Fenway purchased the
business from Lincolnshire Management Inc. The transaction is valued at more
than $100 million.
"Riddell is a company with multiple strengths, including brand
recognition, market leadership, a direct sales force with longstanding
institutional relationships, product innovation, and earnings stability which
provide an outstanding foundation to grow the business," said Peter Lamm,
Chairman and Chief Executive of Fenway Partners. "The management team, led by
Bill Sherman, has been instrumental in guiding Riddell's success and we look
forward to supporting their ongoing efforts to broaden the company's markets,
expand to new sports categories, and pursue selective acquisitions."
Bill Sherman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Riddell, said, "We
see so much untapped potential for our brands and are pleased that Fenway
shares our growth vision. The cornerstone of our business model has been the
strong relationships that our sales force has forged with coaches and
equipment managers over many years. We plan to further enhance our product
breadth, technology skills and valued customer relationships as we drive the
Riddell is both the largest football helmet manufacturer and the largest
football equipment reconditioner, making the company the leading player in the
football helmet market. Over 85% of professionals in the National Football
League wear Riddell helmets. A recognized leader for its product innovation,
the company at the 2002 Super Bowl introduced the Revolution, a computer
engineered football helmet designed with the intent to reduce the risk of
concussion. Riddell also manufactures shoulder pads, related protective wear,
apparel and accessories. Company sales in 2002 exceeded $100 million.
Riddell's consumer products division sells Riddell branded collectible
products, including full-size authentic and replica NFL and collegiate
football helmets, to a number of retailers and direct marketers. The company
also has license agreements with third parties to manufacture and market
products under the Riddell and MacGregor brand names.
About Fenway Partners
Fenway Partners, dedicated to building long-term value through direct
investment in leading middle-market companies, is a private equity investment
firm based in New York with funds under management of more than $1.4 billion.
In partnership with management, Fenway invests in companies with strong
brands, market positions and significant opportunities for growth. The firm
provides management and strategic guidance to improve the operating and
financial performance of its portfolio companies, which include Simmons
Company, Harry Winston, DCI Holdings, Iron Age, Transport Industries, and
other leading enterprises. For further information about Fenway, visit the
firm's Web site at www.fenwaypartners.com.
Riddell Sports Group, Inc. is a leading provider and reconditioner of
branded athletic equipment, uniforms, and practice gear for young men and
women. With a history dating to the 1920s, the Company is known for its
premier position in manufacturing and marketing football helmets to the
National Football League (NFL), college, high school and youth sports leagues.
The company has three divisions: Team Sports Division, which sells game
equipment, apparel and reconditioning services; Retail Division, which sells
Riddell(R) branded products based on NFL, Major League Baseball and NASCAR
trademarks; and Licensing Division, which licenses the Riddell(R) and
MacGregor(R) trademarks to other manufactures. In addition to its unmatched
product mix in football, Riddell also offers customers a wide variety of
baseball products and services and has recently entered the lacrosse category
with agreements to manufacture the basic lacrosse helmet.
SOURCE Fenway Partners, Inc.