SBD/Issue 224/Finance

Fenway Partners Set To Merge Bell & Riddell Sports Groups

Private equity firm Fenway Partners has reached an agreement in principle to acquire helmet and apparel manufacturer Bell Sports for nearly $240M. The acquisition will merge Bell and Riddell Sports Group, which Fenway purchased in June ’03. The company will produce headwear and accessories for action sports and football. Bell President & CEO Bill Fry will lead the combined management team, while Bill Sherman remains Riddell President & CEO and will serve on the BOD (Fenway). Fenway Partners Managing Dir Tim Mayhew indicated that the combined company will have about $300M in revenue in ’04 and “make more than eight million helmets.” No job cuts are expected. Mayhew: “This is a merger of strengths in a sense.” The new company will be based in Irving, Texas, where Bell is based, with a sales office in Chicago and an R&D facility in Santa Cruz, California (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/13).

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