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Adidas sells TaylorMade to KPS Capital Partners for $425 million

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Adidas has sold its golf brands TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth to New York City-based private equity firm KPS Capital Partners for $425 million. The athletic-apparel giant had been actively seeking a buyer for its golf brands since this time May 2016.

The news was announced in a press release, which stated that the sale will be “half … paid in cash with the remainder in a combination of secured note and contingent considerations.” Completion of the transaction is expected later this year.

“This is the beginning of an exciting new era for TaylorMade, and our entire management team is excited to partner with KPS in this next phase of our growth and continued development of our brands, business and people,” said David Abeles, Chief Executive Officer of TaylorMade. “The TaylorMade team is deeply committed to making the most technically advanced performance-driven golf equipment, and this mission will never change. Given their strategic vision, operational resources and significant access to capital, KPS is the ideal partner to help TaylorMade build upon its strong momentum.”

KPS is a private equity firm headquartered in New York City. The company says it “generates investment returns by structurally improving the strategic position, competitiveness and profitability of its portfolio companies, rather than primarily relying on financial leverage.” It currently manages a family of investment funds worth approximately $5.3 billion. 

TaylorMade’s annual sales reached a peak of $1.7 billion in 2013, but the sales have slumped in recent years. An article published by the New York Post in February stated that TaylorMade annual sales had slipped to less than $500 million and that the Carlsbad California-based company was losing between $75-100 million each year.

“TaylorMade is one of the preeminent golf equipment brands worldwide, with leading-edge products that consistently provide consumers a distinct performance advantage over the competition,” said David Shapiro, a Managing Partner of KPS. “We look forward to working with Chief Executive Officer David Abeles, his management team and all TaylorMade employees around the world to build on this great platform by driving growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions. The combination of this iconic brand and KPS’ track record of working constructively with talented management teams to make businesses better will provide the ideal foundation for TaylorMade’s future growth.”

While TaylorMade’s sales have slowed, its presence on the PGA Tour has not. Yesterday, the company announced that it had signed Rory McIlroy to deal to use its golf clubs and golf ball. It now has endorsement deals with the top-3 golfers in the world: Dustin Johnson (No. 1), McIlroy (No. 2) and Jason Day (No. 3).

In January, TaylorMade also signed 14-time major champion Tiger Woods to an endorsement deal. The company also has a deal with one of the hottest young golfers on the PGA Tour, 22-year-old John Rahm.

Adidas said last year that it planned to continue to produce golf shoes and apparel even after the sale of TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth, and the press release mentioned no change in Adidas’ strategy.

Related: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about TaylorMade’s sale in our forum. 

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  1. Darryl

    May 15, 2017 at 7:57 am

    TM signed Rory to deny Callaway the chance, if they hadn’t made an offer at least matching Callaways, he would have just signed for Callaway for the money and quietly put a disguised M2 in the bag, this way they get to shout it from the rooftops and damage Callaway all in one.

    Rory shifting to the M2 will badly damage the sales of the Epic. If DJ, JD and Rory are all using one driver it will sell like free intercourse.

    Callaway thought having Henrik and the prospect of Rory on the books would make the Epic a slam dunk best seller, but with Henrik off the boil (and still using his 3 wood a lot) and Rory deciding the TM product is better. That can’t be good for Callaway, so much so that I notice their Epic ad says that its the best selling driver of 2017 but has a very big visible disclaimer at the bottom saying “based on results from Jan – Mar 2017” so they clearly don’t think the Q2 numbers are going to be so good.

    What TM have wasted money on is signing Tiger. He’s unlikely to play a major role in tournament golf again, so new young players wont know him any better than I knew Hogan or Snead, a once great player, now just a name in the record books. With Nike not making equipment any more, the Tiger fanboys that insist on playing whatever their hero plays would have to switch anyway and that number will drop year on year with him out of the game anyway.

    Is this the final cycle of big money deals as golf settles into a post Tiger era? It’s unlikely any of the new crop of superstars will dominate as he did, so is it worth tying them down to 10 year $100M+ deals? 4 years ago everyone thought Rory was the heir apparent and would challenge the Major tallys of both Woods and Nicklaus, not so. 2 years ago everyone thought Speith was the T-Rex and would rule for a thousand years, not so. 18 months ago it was Jason Day, 12 Months ago DJ, 6 months ago Justin Thomas. But they all look like they will settle into a nice routine of 6 months each at the top and then a rest. That isn’t worth $10m a year.

  2. Don Greco

    May 12, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Love the press release; makes it sound like the world’s greatest golf manufacturing company….just pay no attention that is was sold at a firesale price. There are only so many golfers out there…..it’s a niche game, always will be. Mass marketing just not a good fit for the golf industry. ….there aren’t enough players who need new gear as frequently as the manufacturers had hoped. Every “grow the game” article in any golf magazine is really a marketing pitch for new customers.

  3. munchies

    May 11, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Three steps to black – 1. stop paying ridiculous endorsement fees to tour players, drop few of them 2. cut off management 3. stop dropping bucket loads in marketing, focus in quality offering…

  4. David Ables

    May 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Peace out guys. I’m off to run Adidas South America. Just like Mark King flooded the golf market then got a promo with Adi NA!

  5. M-Herd4

    May 11, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Why would a struggling company like TM sign Rory to a $100M contract when the entire company itself is only valued at $425M?? They already have a stable of elite players that haven’t helped their financial health significantly…

    • Forsbrand

      May 11, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Could Rory himself along with Tiger be part of the investment?

    • munchies

      May 11, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      I know unbelievable. Wouldn’t there be a point of diminishing returns? You have DJ and Tiger on the book already, would adding Rory will increase the club sales proportionally? I would venture to say no..

    • Tom1

      May 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

      100 mil, I searched and couldn’t find that info….?

  6. rebfan73

    May 11, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Or WWE….

  7. Mat

    May 11, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Here’s to hoping they break the release cycle madness. It is good IP, but the lack of price strength hurts the premium margins. And back off the damn lofts. 🙂

  8. Craig

    May 11, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Good to see the keyboard warriors at it again. A quick bit of research on the JPS website will actually show they have a history of INVESTING in companies by improving and streamlining supply chain and manufacturing and growing their investments . Could mean Taylormade might actually improve on delivery and custom build times!!! Time will tell

  9. Simms

    May 10, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Darn, I was hoping Ashworth would buy back his name and we could have some descent fitting quality golf shirts again…..

    • MMM

      May 11, 2017 at 10:56 am

      You should look at LinkSoul……that’s the company John Ashworth started after he got bought out.

  10. alan

    May 10, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    as long as my next taylormade driver is 14 yards longer than the one i bought 6 months ago i dont care who owns taylormade.

  11. toyzrx

    May 10, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Nothing in economy suggests that investment into golf anything is money well spent. I see more layoffs and budget tightening coming to TM. I was hoping TM be bought by another big sport OEM, or merge with Callaway or Titleist.

  12. jc

    May 10, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    now they will have to come out with a new driver every 4 months instead of every 6 months. And it will go 5 yards father of course.

  13. Scott

    May 10, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Yawn

  14. IH

    May 10, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I thought the amount would be biggerer lol

  15. Adrien Jenot

    May 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    I bet they stop making new clubs every year now… (structurally improving the strategic position, competitiveness and profitability of its portfolio companies) I for one am glad the golf market is going back to reality. It reminds me of a recent crash lol

  16. golfraven

    May 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Does Rory need to worry about his next paycheque? Doubtful!

  17. Jeb Springfield

    May 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Fairly sure if you use he “word” “prolly,” you’re not clearing $25M.

    • NolanMBA

      May 10, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      That Facebook creator wears hoodies to board meetings…

  18. Orvill

    May 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Heck…. I wuldn’ta paid more than $375 Mill for TM….. and then sold it off in chunks ….. drivers… irons… putters… balls… bags… and prolly cleared $400 Mill with $25 Mill profit …. and then flipped off Ashworth and Adams ….!!

  19. Joe

    May 10, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    No luck involved, the signing of Rory was most likely part of whatever deal they came to. Once a Private Equity firm takes hold it’s all down hill……

  20. TCJ

    May 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    First!

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the RBC Heritage – Part 3

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The first round of the RBC Heritage gets underway today and with that, we have an unprecedented part 3 of our most interesting pictures from the event. As a refresher, the field of 134 is battleing on the tight treeline Pete Dye designed course, for the $7.1 million purse with $1.28 million going to the winner.

In part one of this week’s “most interesting photos”, we covered putters, for part two we covered some of the action around the course, and for part 3 we have a little bit of both.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Snedeker with that “new driver” look

The 2012 FedEx Cup champ is quietly one of the biggest driver testers on tour, and he was looking thirsty at a couple of TaylorMade SIM2 drivers on the range. Also noted his Miura CB-301 irons.

Build your own training aid

Path board – check, digital level – check, alignment rod – check, extra club – check. Why spend all kinds of money when you can just build your own simple training aid?

Its armlock – but backward

Matt Kuchar brought the arm-lock style to the PGA Tour and it looks like he might be changing course again since he was spotted testing a “reverse” arm-lock Bettinardi on the practice green of Harbour Town links. This is a reverse style because the grip rests against the trailing arm versus the lead one.

Maybe graphite is the new steel

We’re not sure whose caddie this is, but the interesting thing in this photo is the graphite shaft in the putter. Although Bryson wasn’t the first, he certainly has opened the door for more players testing and putting ultra-stiff graphite shafts into their putters for stability.

Si Woo, and Charles Howell talking putters

Everyone knows Charles Howell loves to talk gear, and here he is chatting with Si Woo Kim about a couple of putters—just imagine the nerd level conversation being had.

Na continues to test the new Callaway Epic

Kevin Na is one of the last holdouts on tour with an original Epic driver in the bag, and again this week we spotted him testing one of the new Epic Speed drivers. Considering his chances this week based on the course length, it will be interesting to see if he officially made the switch.

 Maverick’s unique Toulon

Maverick McNealy’s slant-neck San Diego has a very different shape from the retail version and looks to be both longer heel to toe and also shallower—it reminds this writer of the classic Ping Anser 4.

Davis Love III has a full bag of familiar sticks

Davis Love has won the RBC Heritage 5 times (yes, 5) and this past champion has a full bag of Titleist gear including 718 AP2s and SM8 Vokey wedges. You can get all his full WITB here: Davis Love III WITB RBC Heritage

Who has 2 thumbs and loves to test putter? Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace was working with a number of Toulon putters Tuesday, and although they all had something a little different to offer, the one thing that stayed the same is his preferred 2-Thumb grip.

The grind doesn’t stop for Furyk

Did you know Jim Furyk is 3rd all-time on the PGA Tour career money list with over 71 million buckeroos banked. Crazy right? So imagine the drive it takes to continue to work your butt off week in and week out on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour to find every edge.

Speaking of edge, Jim was seen on the range working with Callaway tour reps on a Callaway Epic Speed triple diamond to hopefully gain a few mph of ball speed. Gotta respect the grind.

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Interesting photos from Tuesday at the RBC Heritage – Part 1: The putting green

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This week, the PGA Tour is decompressing in Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, and GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers. The field of 134 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday on the tight treeline Pete Dye designed course, for the $7.1 million purse with $1.28 million going to the winner.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Armlock is building momentum on tour

We spotted both Henrik Norlander and, in a stunning twist, Kevin Kisner working with an armlock putter on the practice green at the RBC Heritage. Kisner is generally not one to switch, but it looks like based on the sideways grip, flat part aligned with the face, he’s taking a big cue from Bryson.

Fleetwood working with a new wand

Coming off a disappointing week at the Masters, it looks like Tommy is ready to try something new on the greens and by the looks of it, it’s shafted with an LA Golf graphite putter shaft.

So clean

Equipment free-agent Chris Kirk’s raw finished Odyssey prototype looks spectacular as its oilcan finish takes on a deeper patina.

It’s all about those drills

Practice is an important part of building consistency, and this drill sure does a lot for keeping everything locked in place.

On the level

There is no better way to work on hitting straight putts than making sure you are actually working on a level surface. This digital level proves that some of the best training devices can be found at your local hardware store.

That alignment is a ten out of ten

We spotted Callaway staffer Chase Seiffert working with an Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with a very unique set of sightline dots—the more the merrier.

Scotty Cameron appreciation

Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the classics, and this “bullet soled” blade is a thing of beauty. The closest thing to this in the retail market is the Coronado released in 2010—maybe we’ll see an updated version in the future?

Chicago’s finest

Kentucky native John Augenstein must be a big fan of Chicago, not the band, but golf companies that originate in the land of the Cubbies and da Bears. Not only is he sponsored by Wilson Staff, but he also has this lovely Bettinardi DASS (double aged stainless steel) custom in the bag with a LAGP graphite shaft (Bryson sure is rubbing off on people).

From Chicago to Texas

Speaking of custom putters, we also spotted this Edel blade being used along with one of the most simple training devices you will probably ever see—who said putting had to be hard?

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

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The Masters Tour Truck Report: Bryson’s new driver, Adam Scott’s new irons, RIP Freddie’s Squareway

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Welcome to this Masters edition of the Tour Truck Report. Normally, there aren’t many major equipment changes the week of a major golf tournament. However, Bryson James Aldrich DeChambeau—and we mean this in the best possible way—is anything but normal.

Thus, it’s not totally surprising to see DeChambeau testing a new Cobra RadSpeed Prototype driver at Augusta National.

Here’s what Cobra VP of R&D Tom Olsavsky had to say about the new weapon.

“The big thing here is speed, and Bryson has a lot of it. To help build a driver specifically tuned for his dynamics, we removed the adjustable weights to save mass from the housings and have focused on internal changes to help him reduce miss-hit variance.”

”The other thing we did was increase the face thickness of his drivers to prolong durability. Bryson hits a lot of golf balls, and with the amount that he hits both in standard practice and his speed training sessions, we wanted to help eliminate any durability concerns. We also suggest that he rotates the heads during sessions—and the adjustability in the hosel makes that easier to do.”

”Now speaking of the face, we specifically removed the Infinity Face on this new head, because it allows us to change the face radii easier and reduce the toe radius to help with his toe misses.”

More on the smattering of other pre-Masters equipment switches below.

Titleist

Adam Scott has been testing 620 MB irons for the past few weeks, according to our source. There’s a good chance they go in play Thursday. The Australian is also debating between a Vokey SM8 60-06K and 60-A.

Callaway

Phil Mickelson is reportedly considering putting with a glove on this week, for what that’s worth.

Jon Rahm continues to play Epic Speed Sub Zero Prototype 3 and 5-woods, as well as a prototype Stroke Lab steel putter shaft.

Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder.

TaylorMade

After a week in the SIM2 Max, Dustin Johnson has returned to his 10.5-degree SIM Max. Fujikura Speeder 661 X, of course.

Matthew Wolf has a new Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 60 TX shaft in his 9-degree SIM2.

Cobra

Sources confirmed Bryson DeChambeau will put the Cobra RadSpeed Prototype in play.

Ping

Lee Westwood has swapped his hybrid for a Ping G425 7-wood.

Cameron Champ has switched from a Ventus Blue back to the Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70 6.5 TX he played last year.

Matthew Fitzpatrick tested a G410 9-wood. Unclear whether he’s putting it in play.

In a case of tailoring equipment to the course, Joaquin Niemann added loft to his G425 3-wood to hit a high draw at the downhill 495-yard 10th at Augusta.

Others, free agents

In other news, we’re hearing Fred Couples may bench his beloved 2008 vintage Callaway FT-i Squareway 3-wood for a TaylorMade SIM2 Max. We’ll have to see what Boom Boom booms his 3-wood shots with on Thursday. He may also have his old Bridgestone irons in play.

Matt Kuchar demoed a LAGP putter shaft with a SuperStroke grip in a new Bettinardi BB8 Tri-Plane putter. He has also reportedly decreased the loft from seven degrees to four on the wand as he is using a new armlock putting method.

Collin Morikawa is testing Vokey SM8 60-04L with reduced ribbon for Augusta’s firm, tight lies.

The legend Jose Maria Olazabal has a new Vokey SM8 58-08M in the bag.

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