NEW YORK, Aug. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has officially acquired the Prince brand name, adding another strong brand to its growing family of properties. Continuing their mission of owning and licensing brands to highly capable operating partners, ABG's objective is to maintain Prince Sports' historical reign in the tennis world while expanding into new categories.
At the core of their global strategy are three operating partnerships tasked with managing and expanding the Prince brand. Through its wholly owned affiliate Prince Global Sports, Active Brands Company (ABC) is the exclusive partner for Prince throughout the world with the exception of Asia. ABC is majority owned by Waitt Company, an Omaha based diversified investment company. "We are excited to deepen and expand Prince Sports through delivering quality products, accessories and world-class service," says Norm Waitt, Chairman of Waitt Company. Prince Global Sports will primarily be managing the Prince, Ektelon, Viking brands and related businesses out of facilities in New Jersey, London, France and Taiwan.
Globeride Inc., an Asia-based company that has been innovating the athletic equipment industry for over 50 years, has been officially named ABG's partner to operate Prince throughout Japan. "Prince Sports already has a passionate following in Japan and we look forward to enhancing its popularity with the Japanese consumer," says Masao Sato, Senior Executive Officer of Globeride. Further strengthening Prince's presence in Asia, Wellpower Sports has partnered with ABG to operate Prince Pacific, which holds the Prince brand in China/Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. "Prince Sports is an amazing addition to the Wellpower family, and we are confident that Prince will continue to resonate as the premiere tennis brand in Asia," says Kent Hong, CEO of Wellpower.
"Prince has a rich history of providing exceptional products to the performance sports market," says Jamie Salter, CEO of ABG. "We are committed to this fantastic brand and support our operating partners in continuing the tradition so many have come to expect from Prince."
Over the past 43 years, Prince has become synonymous with tennis by arming the most gifted players in the world with Prince rackets, shoes, bags and apparel. From the invention of the first automatic tennis ball machine and the first oversized racquet in the 1970s, Prince has continually challenged the status quo, pushing the game forward by equipping athletes at all levels with unique products and support programs designed to take their game to the next level. According to Nick Woodhouse, CMO of ABG, "Prince will continue to reach the globe with cutting edge technology through key partnerships around the world."
Prince is widely recognized as being the first to market with many of the most relevant technologies of the past 40 years. Through a commitment to research and develop from its facility in Italy, Prince has introduced a number of new products and product enhancements including, oversize technology, long body technology, the first multifilament string, the first "Natural Foot Shape" tennis shoe and EXO3 technology. A key competitive advantage for Prince and the only one of its kind in the tennis space, the facility will continue to operate under ABG's management. "We are incredibly excited to introduce new patented technology that will revolutionize the tennis industry in 2013," says Roberto Gazzara, GM of Research and Development. "Our facility is developing equipment that will improve the feel and power for players at all levels."
This notion of constant innovation will be front and center in Prince's upcoming #WhosNext campaign, which will launch on Twitter and Facebook during the U.S. Open.
"Tennis is a game played along the tightest of margins and the difference between being 'in' or 'out' is only a matter of one degree," says Nick Woodhouse. "Like all of our world-class athletes, we will prepare smarter, train harder and compete tougher on every point - as if it were the last."
About Authentic Brands Group, LLC
Authentic Brands Group, in partnership with Leonard Green & Partners, is an intellectual property corporation with a mandate to acquire, manage and build long-term value in prominent consumer brands. With offices in New York and Toronto, ABG's mission is to acquire and manage iconic consumer brands in apparel, sporting goods, action sports, home, celebrity, entertainment and consumer electronics and enhance brand equity through best- in-class brand licensee and direct-to-retail partnerships. The brands ABG owns include Marilyn Monroe®, Prince®, Ektelon®, Viking®, TapouT®, Sportcraft®, Silver Star Casting Company®, Iron Star®, Hitman Fight Gear® and Sinister Brand®.
About Active Brands Company
Through affiliate companies, Active Brands Company (ABC) owns and operates branded sports equipment and soft goods companies. The majority owner of ABC is Waitt Company, an Omaha based investment company with holdings in private and public companies, alternative investments, and real estate. The company invests directly in private and public companies and indirectly through public and alternative investment managers. Regarding Investments in private companies, Waitt Company is focused on opportunities to partner with committed owners and proven management teams to support the strategies for growing the enterprise value of their companies. Waitt Company builds effective, long-term relationships with founders, families, and management teams pursuing a variety of risk appropriate strategies for building long-term enterprise value.
Globeride is a lifetime sports company with key promises to be innovative and remain earth-friendly, while delivering best in class sporting equipment.
About Wellpower Sports Co.
Wellpower Sports is one of the leading manufacturers of sporting protectors, gloves, bags and equipment under the Guang Der umbrella.
Nick Woodhouse, 212-760-2411
SOURCE Authentic Brands Group