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 business forward." 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. About Riddell 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.