Acushnet Company, the golf business of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), which also sells spirits such as Jim Beam and Canadian Club whiskey, has signed an agreement for the sale of Cobra Golf to PUMA AG.
The sale includes the Cobra brand, as well as related inventory, intellectual property and endorsement contracts, and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Acushnet also announced plans to continue to provide services for an agreed upon period of time beyond the closing of the sale to facilitate a seamless transition. Services such as production, distribution, field sales and customer service will ensure that Acushnet Company’s Cobra trade accounts and golfers continue to receive industry-leading service during this transition period.
“With the sale of Cobra, we have the opportunity to devote all of our resources to the global growth of our industry-leading Titleist and FootJoy brands,” said Wally Uihlein, Chairman and CEO of Acushnet Company. “At the same time, Cobra is a strong brand with a heritage of innovation, and we wish the quality associates guiding the brand future success. Golfers and our valued partners will remain the key focus throughout the impending sale and we are confident that our customers will continue to be serviced to our high standards.”
“Through the acquisition of Cobra Golf, we reinforce PUMA’s commitment to our sports performance business by strengthening our growing and successful Golf category,” said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman and Chief Executive of PUMA. “Cobra Golf has a history of innovative performance products fused with an edge and is therefore a perfect fit for PUMA, reinforcing our overall mission of becoming the most desirable Sportlifestyle company. With Cobra Golf, PUMA will capitalize on the many opportunities in the Golf category and upside potential ahead of us.”
Based in Carlsbad, California, Cobra Golf was founded in 1973 and produced one of the first utility clubs, the Baffler, long before use of such clubs became popular, manifesting Cobra Golf’s hybrid leadership.
This leadership and innovation continues today with recent releases such as the new ZL and S2 Drivers, as well as the Baffler Rail Hybrid. In 1996, Cobra Golf was acquired by American Brands Inc. (later renamed Fortune Brands) and has since then been managed together under the Acushnet Company umbrella with its other golf brands.
Pending regulatory approval, the effective date of the sale of Cobra Golf to PUMA is expected to be early in the second quarter, and all business will continue to be conducted by Acushnet Company until that time.
All Acushnet Company associates dedicated to the Cobra business are expected to become employees of PUMA. Financial terms of the pending transaction were not disclosed.
“Titleist and FootJoy are powerful golf brands that are poised for long-term growth,” continued Uihlein. “This laser focus and our longstanding commitment to deliver superior performance and quality will strengthen golfers’ trust in the Titleist and FootJoy brands in all global markets.”
“With this acquisition the combination of Cobra and PUMA Golf provides a competitive full range offering to become a better resource to its account base, being now in the position to provide Golf equipment next to footwear, apparel and accessories,” stated PUMA.
The sportlifestyle company, which was founded in 1948, distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 9,000 people worldwide and has headquarters in Herzogenaurach/Germany, Boston, London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit http://www.puma.com
Reuters reports that immediately after the announcement Fortune Brands shares were up 43 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $46.91.
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