Cover Photo: Jamie Walter
Yesterday marked the conclusion of a deal which sees Kohlberg & Company acquire K2 Sports/Volkl Marker Dalbello from Newell Brands Inc. On the face of it, the deal isn't very exciting. It could be seen as simply trading one corporate owner for another and the day-to-day running of the K2, Volkl, Line, Full Tilt etc is expected to remain the same. But, to me, it seems that the future for those brands looks a whole lot brighter. They are no longer an irrelevant-sized and inconvenient wing of a supercompany that otherwise deals with household goods, but back under private ownership and looking far more secure, at least superficially, as a result. Full press release as follows:
"MOUNT KISCO, N.Y.--Kohlberg & Company, LLC (“Kohlberg”) a leading private equity firm specializing in middle-market investing, announced today that it has completed the previously-announced acquisition of the Winter Sports business of Newell Brands Inc., including Völkl®, K2®, Marker®, Dalbello®, Madshus®, Line®, Full Tilt®, Atlas®, Tubbs®, Ride® and BCA®.
“Today marks another milestone in the history of two iconic groups known throughout the sporting goods industry: K2 and Marker Dalbello Völkl,” said Chris Anderson, Partner of Kohlberg. “Kohlberg & Company is excited to be investing in their future. Customers know K2 and Marker Dalbello Völkl as leaders in action sports innovation, and we look forward to building on that legacy. The strong brand reputation and the global teams who have developed, manufactured, sold and serviced these products are the primary reasons for our enthusiasm.”
Joe Lawler, Operating Partner of Kohlberg, has been named Chairman of the Board of K2-MDV Holdings, LP (the “Company”), a holding company that will own the K2 Sports and Marker Dalbello Völkl business units. Joe commented: “This lineup of revered consumer brands together with a world-class management team makes our investment an exciting one. The identities and product specifications of the brands will be retained, developed and celebrated in the future as we unlock each brand’s full potential and bring authentic lifestyle experiences to the global outdoor sports enthusiast community.”
Kohlberg also announced the following Senior Leadership Team for the Company:
Christoph Bronder, President and CEO of Marker Dalbello Völkl, will assume the new role of President and CEO of the Company, with overall responsibility for K2 and Marker Dalbello Völkl. Christoph has successfully built up and led the Marker Dalbello Völkl Group business for more than 20 years. Christoph has also been a Managing Director of K2 Europe since 2008 and he has been instrumental in the development of the Völkl brand, the Marker acquisition in 2000 and the Dalbello acquisition in 2015.
Christoph will be supported by a strong leadership team reporting to him. Jonathan Wiant will continue in his role as leader of Marker Dalbello Völkl Brands, including sales, marketing and product development functions. Andrea Bergamin will be the leader of all operations of the brands, and Kohlberg Operating Partner Michael Quinn has joined as the Company’s Global Chief Financial Officer. Michael will be based in K2’s Seattle, WA headquarters and will oversee all Company financial functions.
K2 President & CEO Robert Marcovitch has successfully achieved his goals with the Company and will be leaving following a transition period. The company has commenced a global search for a new leader of K2 Brands, who will be based in K2’s Seattle, WA headquarters and be responsible for all sales, marketing and product development for all K2 Brands.
“We greatly appreciate Robert’s support through the transaction and this forthcoming transition period,” added Joe Lawler, “and I want to thank him for all of the great work he has done at K2 Sports.”
Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”) is a leading private equity firm specializing in middle-market investing. Since its inception in 1987, Kohlberg has organized eight private equity funds, through which it has raised $7.5 billion of committed equity capital. Over its 30-year history, Kohlberg has completed 70 platform investments and more than 150 add-on acquisitions, with an aggregate transaction value in excess of $15 billion."