German global sportswear maker Adidas AG (ETR: ADS, OTCQX: ADDYY) said it agreed to sell its TaylorMade, Adams Golf and Ashworth golf brands to New York-based KPS Capital Partners LP for $425 million.

KPS is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, with approximately $5.5 billion of assets under management.

Half of the purchase price will be paid in cash, and the balance through a secured note and contingent payments. The deal is expected to be completed later in 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.

Adidas began actively seeking a buyer last year, as reported by ExitHub.

“TaylorMade is a leading global golf brand with an exceptionally strong market position. We would like to thank all TaylorMade employees for their many contributions to our company and wish them all the best for a successful future under their new ownership. At the same time, we welcome all adidas Golf employees who will be integrated into our adidas Heartbeat Sports Business Unit,” said Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted. “Within our long-term strategy ‘Creating the New’, our focus is clearly on our core competencies in footwear and apparel and on our two major brands adidas and Reebok.”

Adidas designs, develops, produces, and markets athletic and sports lifestyle products worldwide. It operates through 13 segments: Western Europe, North America, Greater China, Russia/CIS, Latin America, Japan, Middle East, South Korea, Southeast Asia/Pacifc, TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Reebok-CCM Hockey, Runtastic, and other centrally managed businesses.

The company was formerly known as adidas-Salomon AG and changed its name to adidas AG in June 2006. adidas AG was founded in 1920 and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Employing more than 60,000 people in over 160 countries, the company produce more than 840 million product units annually and generated sales of €19 billion in 2016.

Guggenheim Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to adidas AG and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP served as legal counsel.

Going forward, Adidas intends to focus its efforts in this market segment on further strengthening its position as a leading provider of innovative golf footwear and apparel through the Adidas Golf brand, the company says.

TaylorMade Golf Company

In the spring of 1979 a golf equipment salesman named Gary Adams took out a $24,000 loan on his home and founded the TaylorMade Golf Company. He rented a 6,000 square-foot building that at one time housed a television assembly plant. Counting him, there were three employees and a single, innovative product: a 12-degree driver cast of stainless steel. This new metalwood looked and sounded different from a wooden wood, and most important, it performed differently. The clubhead’s perimeter-weighting offered greater forgiveness on mis-hits, while the lower center of gravity made it easier to launch the ball in the air.

Adams, the son of a golf professional, was adamant that TaylorMade clubs maintain ties to what true golfers perceived an authentic golf club should look and feel like. They were committed to combining innovation with authenticity, to always be passionate about the game, and pledged to be competitive – to work hard to establish itself and grow. These four tenets would take them far. The same values singled out 30 years ago by Gary Adams are still revered and practiced today at TaylorMade, adidas Golf and Ashworth.

Starting with $47,000 in sales in 1979, the company eventually reached its first billion dollars in revenue in 2006, marking only the second time in history that a golf brand had achieved this milestone.

TaylorMade was independently owned until 1984, when Salomon SA acquired the company. At the time, the union was strategically compatible for both companies which were innovators in their industries: Salomon wanted to diversify and made the decision to enter a “three-season” market, and TaylorMade benefited from the worldwide resources of Salomon.

Adidas bought Salomon in 1997, and shortly thereafter the image and focus of TaylorMade were redirected to take over the driver market. The company succeeded in achieving this goal in late 2005, when it officially became the top driver in golf.

PGA Tour Professionals are said to play more TaylorMade drivers than Callaway, Cleveland, Cobra, Nike and Ping combined.

Currently, the company markets TaylorMade drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, golf balls and accessories. The company’s major equipment claims, promoted in marketing materials with small “No. 1” shields, include: No. 1 Driver in Golf, No. 1 Fairway in Golf and No. 1 Irons in Golf.



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