Nautic Partners, LLC and Management Acquire Prince Sports, Inc.
Bordentown, NJ – August 13, 2007 - Four years ago the Prince management team and an investment partner acquired Prince Sports, Inc. (the parent of the Prince and Ektelon racquet sports brands) from the Benetton Group. Since then Prince Sports has seen substantial growth in all areas of its business. Late last year, the Company began looking for a new investment partner to support its growth and development plans.
Today, the Company announced that Nautic Partners, LLC has joined with the Prince management team to acquire Prince Sports, Inc. from its existing shareholders.
Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Nautic Partners is a private equity firm focused on providing growth capital to middle market companies. According to Chris Crosby, Managing Director at Nautic Partners, “Prince is an iconic brand in racquet sports. The management team has done a terrific job rejuvenating that brand by combining product innovation with marketing and service. The whole organization is focused on broadening its footprint globally, and we are ready to support their quest to be #1 in the racquet sports industry.”
George Napier, CEO of Prince, commented, “From the introduction of O3 Racquet Technology in 2005 to the recent launch of Aerotech Performance Apparel in July, our team has been committed to delivering game-changing performance racquet sports equipment for players and coaches worldwide. Along with the success we’ve had in the last few years comes the obligation of stepping things up and becoming an even better company. That generally means taking on new opportunities and it’s the scope of those opportunities which spurred us to look for additional investment. In the last few months, I have spent countless hours with my team and the Nautic senior leadership team, and am genuinely excited to be joining them. They have the expertise and financial strength to help us tap the major growth opportunities facing us and I am confident they will be great partners for years to come.”
Currently poised to break $100 million in sales by the end of its fiscal year, Prince’s recent global growth was led by solid performance in the company’s racquet category, due in large part to its award-winning line of O3 products. In January 2007, Prince launched O3 Speedport racquets – an extension of its already successful, patented Original O3 technology which transformed racquet design and performance and has quickly become a “must have” technology for players on tennis courts around the world. In addition, Prince’s footwear division contributed to the growth trend as its new M Series line expanded its distribution base. And a successful introduction of a new Synthetic Gut Multifilament string fueled additional growth and complemented the industry’s #1 selling string, Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex. Most recently, the company re-positioned its apparel business with the launch of Aerotech Performance Apparel – an advanced fabric and construction system designed and engineered to help players look and perform their best on court.
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