Fenway Partners Acquires Riddell Sports Group Leading Branded Sporting Goods Provider to Pursue Expansion

to New Markets and Product Offerings



    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.

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