Canadian-listed hockey equipment firm Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. has bought the baseball operations of U.S.-based Easton-Bell Sports for $330 million US.
Bauer, already a global leader in ice hockey and roller hockey equipment with 53 per cent of the global market, will become the No. 1 seller of softball and baseball equipment after the purchase.
President and CEO Kevin Davis called the deal, to close in April, a “transformational acquisition.”
Van Nuys, Calif.-based Easton-Bell Sports continues to own Easton Hockey and Easton Cycling, though Bauer will own the Easton brand in baseball and softball. Easton-Bell is owned by Fenway Partners LLC and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Its competitors for the baseball diamond include Russell Brands LLC unit, maker of the Spalding brand and Rawlings Sporting Goods Co., which supplies baseballs to Major League Baseball.
Bauer, founded in Kitchener, Ont. in 1927 and now based in New Hampshire, sells the Bauer, Mission, Maverik, Cascade, Inaria and Combat brands of hockey gear.
The combined companies generated approximately $593 million US in sales and $95 million in adjusted earnings before interest and tax in 2013.
Most of Easton Baseball/Softball's leadership team is joining Bauer, with Cliff Hall to serve as the executive vice president of the division.
"The team at Easton Baseball and Softball has built a winning record since the launch of its first aluminum bat in 1972," Hall said in a press release.
"The acquisition by BPS will build on Easton Baseball and Softball's tradition of developing game-changing technologies that has positioned it as the world's leading and most recognized brand in diamond sports.”