Illinois, USA; May 20: Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO) today announced a definitive agreement for the sale of its Acushnet Company golf business, featuring the iconic Titleist and FootJoy brands, to a group led by Fila Korea Ltd., the owner of the Fila brand globally, and Mirae Asset Private Equity, the largest private equity firm in Korea.
The purchase price is $1.225 billion in cash. Fortune Brands estimates it will realize net proceeds of approximately $1.1 billion after taxes and expenses.
Acushnet is the leading and most profitable golf equipment company in the world. Titleist is the #1 ball in golf and a leader in high-performance golf clubs. FootJoy is the #1 shoe and glove in golf and a leader in performance outerwear.
Net sales exceeded $1.2 billion in 2010, with nearly half of revenues generated in markets outside the United States. Operating income before charges was $80 million in 2010, and operating income on a GAAP basis was $89 million.
Established in Italy in 1911, Fila is a leading sport and leisure footwear and apparel brand that is distributed worldwide.
The group led by Fila Korea and Mirae also includes the National Pension Service of Korea, the fourth largest pension fund in the world, and Korea Development Bank, Korea’s largest government-owned bank.
“This transaction is a very important milestone as we execute our proposed plan to separate our three strong businesses for the purpose of maximising long-term value for our shareholders,” said Bruce Carbonari, chairman and chief executive officer of Fortune Brands.
“Not surprisingly, the sale process for Acushnet generated broad interest from a range of prospective buyers and resulted in this agreement that reflects the superior performance and prospects of the business. The proceeds from this sale will strengthen Fortune Brands’ balance sheet and support strong capital structures for both Beam and Fortune Brands Home & Security as they look to the prospect of competing as independent companies later this year.
“At the same time, we believe Fila Korea and Mirae will enable the outstanding team at Acushnet to continue pursuing the strategies that have made it the preeminent company in golf, including delivering advanced-technology new products and driving strong growth across Asia,” Carbonari continued. “We are grateful to all the associates at Acushnet who have built an industry leader and contributed to Fortune Brands’ success for so many years. I have no doubt they will take Titleist and FootJoy to even greater heights in the future.”
According to Gene Yoon, chairman and chief executive officer of Fila Korea, Ltd., “The acquisition of Acushnet transforms our platform with a stable of premiere world class brands. We are equally excited to embrace Acushnet’s exceptional management team led by Wally Uihlein. With our extensive knowledge and reach in Asia, we believe that the Acushnet brands have incredible new opportunity for growth in the emerging markets in Asia.”
“We are very impressed with what Acushnet management and employees have accomplished so far. We will fully support the company to remain focused on its core golf expertise and continue driving the growth of the industry,” said JH Ryu, the CEO of Mirae Asset Private Equity.
Fortune Brands initiated a sale process for Acushnet after announcing in December that it proposed to separate its businesses following a strategic review process conducted by the Board and management. The sale has been approved by the Fortune Brands Board of Directors as well as the Boards of Fila Korea and Mirae, and is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close this summer.