Norwest Equity Partners Acquired United Sports Brands

Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a renowned middle-market investment platform established in 1961, has successfully acquired United Sports Brands (USB), a dynamic collection of category-defining sporting goods and active lifestyle brands. The transaction, which closed on November 20, 2023, marks a significant milestone for both entities, with the financial terms remaining undisclosed.

USB boasts a diverse portfolio comprising six unique brands—Shock Doctor, McDavid, Cutters, Nathan, PEARL iZUMi, and Glukos. Committed to advancing athletes with best-in-class sports performance and protective products, USB offers a range of mission-critical items used at every level of sport, including mouthguards, protective gear, sports medicine and therapy, cycling, gloves, and various sport-focused accessories and apparel. The Company’s products are distributed by top retailers in over 65 countries, spanning sporting goods, specialty stores, and e-commerce channels.

united sports brands companies

NEP’s history with USB dates back to 2008 when it acquired Shock Doctor as part of its consumer products portfolio. Under the initial six-year investment period, NEP collaborated with CEO Tony Armand and management to strengthen Shock Doctor’s position as a market leader in the performance and protective equipment category.

This partnership led to the creation and acquisition of new product lines. After selling Shock Doctor to Bregal Partners in 2014, which later evolved into United Sports Brands through strategic acquisitions, Armand joined NEP as a partner in 2018. With the recent acquisition of USB, NEP aims to leverage Armand’s extensive experience and knowledge in the business and consumer products industry.

Tony Armand expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “On behalf of the entire NEP team, we are thrilled to partner with USB again. USB has a rich history of success with a hallmark set of brands for athletes across all levels. Continued growth for the company will be driven by new product development, exceptional channel partnerships, and a relentless focus on the athlete.”

NEP brings deep industry experience to USB, building on past portfolio company partnerships with entities such as Wahoo Fitness, Pure Archery, Pelican Products, and Michaels of Oregon. NEP’s investment, both in terms of capital and resources, will be directed towards strengthening USB’s core business and expanding its international presence.

Adam Garcia Eveloff, NEP managing director, expressed excitement about adding another sporting goods and active lifestyle platform to NEP’s family of portfolio companies. The focus will be on creating long-term value for all stakeholders through strategic partnerships and sustained growth.

The transaction saw Baird providing advisory services to NEP, with Jones Day serving as NEP’s legal advisor. Debt financing was facilitated by BMO and Antares. Lazard and Jefferies played advisory roles for USB, which was previously owned by Bregal Partners.

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