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Adidas to Sell TaylorMade, Adams Golf and Ashworth to KPS for $425M

Adidas to Sell TaylorMade, Adams Golf and Ashworth to KPS for $425M

Adidas began actively seeking a buyer last year, as reported by ExitHub. “TaylorMade is a leading global golf brand with an exceptionally strong market position. We would like to thank all TaylorMade employees for their many contributions to our company and wish them all the best for a successful future under their new ownership. At the same time, we welcome all adidas Golf employees who will be integrated into our adidas Heartbeat Sports Business Unit,” said Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted. “Within our long-term strategy ‘Creating the New’, our focus is clearly on our core competencies in footwear and apparel and on our two major brands adidas and Reebok.” Adidas designs, develops, produces, and markets athletic and sports lifestyle products worldwide. It operates through 13 segments: Western Europe, North America, Greater China, Russia/CIS, Latin America, Japan, Middle East, South Korea, Southeast Asia/Pacifc, TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Reebok-CCM Hockey, Runtastic, and other centrally managed businesses. The company was formerly known as adidas-Salomon AG and changed its name to adidas AG in June 2006. adidas AG was founded in 1920 and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Employing more than 60,000 people in over 160 countries, the company produce more than 840 million product units annually and generated sales of €19 billion in 2016. Guggenheim Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to adidas AG and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP served as legal counsel. Going forward, Adidas intends to focus its efforts in this market segment on further strengthening its position as a leading provider of innovative golf footwear and apparel through the Adidas Golf brand, the company says. TaylorMade Golf Company In the spring of 1979 a golf equipment salesman named Gary Adams took out a $24,000 loan on his home and founded the TaylorMade Golf Company. He rented a 6,000 square-foot building that at one time housed a television assembly plant. Counting him, there were three employees and a single, innovative product: a 12-degree driver cast of stainless steel. This new metalwood looked and sounded different from a wooden wood, and most important, it performed differently. The clubhead’s perimeter-weighting offered greater forgiveness on mis-hits, while the lower center of gravity made it easier to launch the ball in the air. Adams, the son of a golf professional, was adamant that TaylorMade clubs maintain ties to what true golfers perceived an authentic golf club should look and feel like. They were committed to combining innovation with authenticity, to always be passionate about the game, and pledged to be competitive – to work hard to establish itself and grow. These four tenets would take them far. The same values singled out 30 years ago by Gary Adams are still revered and practiced today at TaylorMade, adidas Golf and Ashworth. Starting with $47,000 in sales in 1979, the company eventually reached its first billion dollars in revenue in 2006, marking only the second time in history that a golf brand had achieved this milestone. TaylorMade was independently owned until 1984, when Salomon SA acquired the company. At the time, the union was strategically compatible for both companies which were innovators in their industries: Salomon wanted to diversify and made the decision to enter a “three-season” market, and TaylorMade benefited from the worldwide resources of Salomon. Adidas bought Salomon in 1997, and shortly thereafter the image and focus of TaylorMade were redirected to take over the driver market. The company succeeded in achieving this goal in late 2005, when it officially became the top driver in golf. PGA Tour Professionals are said to play more TaylorMade drivers than Callaway, Cleveland, Cobra, Nike and Ping combined. Currently, the company markets TaylorMade drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, golf balls and accessories. The company’s major equipment claims, promoted in marketing materials with small “No. 1” shields, include: No. 1 Driver in Golf, No. 1 Fairway in Golf and No. 1 Irons in Golf.]]>

Mandarinfish Group to Acquire PADI Scuba Diving Organization from Providence for $700M+

Mandarinfish Group to Acquire PADI Scuba Diving Organization from Providence for $700M+

Providence Equity Partners, for more than $700 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. PADI was founded near Chicago in 1966 by the late scuba equipment salesman John Cronin, and late educator and swimming instructor Ralph Erickson. They felt that the scuba certification agencies that existed at the time were unprofessional, didn’t use state-of-the-art instruction, and made it unnecessarily difficult for people to enter the sport. PADI diver courses and scuba diving services can now be found in more than 183 countries and territories. PADI Worldwide has grown over the course of five decades to become international in scope with service offices and distribution centers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. With more than 6,400 PADI dive centers and resorts, and more than 133,000 individual PADI professionals who have issued more than 25 million certifications around the world, Providence, which bought a majority stake in PADI from private equity firm Lincolnshire Management in 2015, has focused on expanding the company in Asia, including in Indonesia and Malaysia, according to Bloomberg. Deutsche Bank AG reportedly acted as financial advisor to Providence in the deal. Providence has $50 billion in assets under management across complementary private equity and credit businesses. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, the firm has invested in over 160 companies and become a leading equity investment firm focused on media, communications, education and information sectors. The firm is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Delhi.]]>

PokerStars Owner Amaya $AYA in $6B Merger Talks With William Hill $WMH

PokerStars Owner Amaya $AYA in $6B Merger Talks With William Hill $WMH

Amaya Inc. (NASDAQ: AYA; TSX: AYA) and London-based William Hill plc (LSE: WMH), said “they are in discussions regarding a potential all share merger of equals,” that would would create “a clear international leader across online sports betting, poker and casino.” Amaya, the world’s biggest publicly listed online gambling company and owner of PokerStars, the world’s largest real-money online poker network, had retained Barclays Bank as its financial adviser to explore a sale, as reported by ExitHub earlier this year. Founded in 1934, William Hill is one of the world’s leading betting and gaming companies, employing more than 16,000 people in nine countries, including the UK, Gibraltar, Israel, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, the US, Australia and the Philippines. In addition to its online sportsbook operations, the company offers online casino games, ‘skill games’, online bingo and online poker. Citigroup Global Markets and Macquarie Capital are acting as financial advisers to William Hill, which in recent months has been evaluating options to accelerate its strategy of increasing diversification by growing its digital and international businesses. In August, the British bookmaker rejected a takeover bid from its rivals 888 Holdings and Rank Group. GSO Capital Partners, the credit arm of private equity firm Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX), holds a stake of 19.99% in Amaya. GSO was a major financial backer of Amaya’s $4.9-billion buyout of Oldford Group Ltd and its Isle of Man-headquartered Rational Group Ltd, the owner and operator of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands, in August 2014. Several parties, including sports betting and gaming company GVC Holdings, as well as David Baazov, considered the “king of online gambling” who resigned under pressure as chairman and CEO of Amaya, were interested in acquiring the company. In late March, Amaya said that its founder Baazov was taking a voluntary leave “to focus on preparing an offer to acquire Amaya and to avoid a distraction for the company while he responds to certain allegations made against him by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the securities regulatory authority in Quebec.” In August, he permanently resigned all positions at Amaya. “Amaya remains focused,” said the company’s recently appointed CEO Rafi Ashkenazi. “We attracted new customers to PokerStars, continued to introduce changes to improve the overall poker experience, expanded our online casino offering and continued to invest in our emerging online sportsbook.” Amaya is a leading provider of technology-based products and services in the global gaming and interactive entertainment industries. Amaya owns gaming and related consumer businesses and brands including PokerStars, Full Tilt, BetStars, StarsDraft, the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. Its brands have more than 100 million cumulative registered customers globally and collectively form the largest poker business in the world, comprising online poker games and tournaments, live poker competitions, branded poker rooms in popular casinos in major cities around the world, and poker programming created for television and online audiences. Amaya also offers non-poker gaming products, including casino, sportsbook and daily fantasy sports. Amaya and its group companies have various gaming and gaming-related licenses or approvals throughout the world, including from the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Romania, the Isle of Man, Malta, the State of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario in Canada, and the State of New Jersey in the United States. The company was founded in 2004 and it has nearly 2,000 employees. ONLINE GAMBLING AND GAMING M&A ACTIVITY A few  days ago, Philippine billionaire Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin, the former chairman and controlling shareholder of PhilWeb Corp. (PSE: WEB), a leading gaming technology provider in the Asia Pacific region, sold his 53.76 percent stake in the company to Gregorio Maria “Greggy” Araneta III, the son-in-law of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos. Ongpin himself was a former Minister of Trade and Industry during the Marcos administration in the 1970s. The move came after the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office on June 30 after running on a platform to clean up the country, specifically named Ongpin in a speech in early August, as one of the “oligarchs that are embedded in the government” who he literally said he plans to “destroy.” The recent wave of M&A is likely to continue as operators look to become bigger and more diversified to offset rising costs and compete more effectively. In late May, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners acquired Italian gaming and payments operator Sisal Group SpA from private equity firms Apax Partners, Permira and Clessidra for €1 billion. In April, Las Vegas-based NYX Gaming Group Limited (TSX-V: NYX) agreed to acquire OpenBet (OB Topco Ltd), the #1 regulated digital gaming supplier globally, from private equity firm Vitruvian Partners LLP, its co-investors and management, for £270 million. As part of the deal, William Hill and SkyBet, owned by CVC Capital and Sky plc, were said to have invested £80 million and £20 million, respectively. Earlier this year, CVC Capital acquired a majority stake in German gaming company Tipico for close to €1.5 billion ($1.68 billion). In December 2014, CVC acquired Sky Betting and Gaming for £800 million, consisting of five core brands Sky Bet (sports betting), Sky Vegas (online in-browser casino), Sky Casino (premium online casino, live table games), Sky Poker (online poker) and Sky Bingo (online bingo). CVC also made previous investments in William Hill (2002 IPO exit, at 314% ROI) and the IG Group, a digital trading and betting platform. “Sports betting contributed substantially to Sisal’s revenues (in 2015), with the Italian market growing by 24.7 percent compared with 2014,” said gaming industry analyst Joss Wood. “The March (2016) revenue figures issued by regulator AAMS show Sisal ranked fourth for online sports betting with monthly revenue of €23.4 million ($26.8 million).” “Gaming companies with a larger online presence are likely to see higher revenue and EBITDA growth over the next 12-18 months than those more focused on traditional land-based business, as the gradual shift online continues, mobile phone and tablet penetration rises, and fast-growing demand for online games increases,” said Moody’s vice president and senior analyst, Donatella Maso. UK-based William Hill Plc has the biggest online exposure by revenue, while pure online operator Sky Bet (Sky Betting & Gaming) has the most significant presence by percentage of total revenue. Conversely, Ladbrokes Plc is one of the largest gaming companies in the UK but its digital division still lags its peers and it reported negative EBIT in 2015, according to Moody’s. While SNAI SpA’s revenues have surpassed Sisal’s following its acquisition of Cogemat SpA and it has gained leadership positions in retail sport and horse betting, “Sisal will remain more profitable mainly due to its more favorable product mix,” Maso said. SNAI is Italy’s second-largest gaming company after International Game Technology. SNAI is also the leader in sports and horse betting and the third-largest concessionaire of amusement with prize machines and the second-largest of video lottery terminals by turnover. The online sector’s fundamentals are expected to remain positive for at least the next two to three years, which will support high single-digit growth rates despite regulatory and tax pressures. Potential legalization of online gambling or further liberalization of the rules that already govern it in some European markets and US states offer growth opportunities for large online gaming operators, which could offset uncertainty in regulatory regimes. Europe, in particular, continues to see the creation of an increasing number of new regimes that permit licensed and regulated betting, notably through interactive platforms, and which is gradually removing the once dominant monopolistic approach favoring the lottery sector, according to the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA). The continuing growth of professional sport and associated betting markets on a global scale, as a direct result of consumer demand driven by technological advances, has provided both business sectors with clear fiscal benefits and further strengthened their symbiotic relationship, says the EGBA. This has manifested itself in a range of mutually beneficial commercial ventures through direct sponsorship of sporting events, sportspeople and clubs, along with numerous indirect benefits to both products from media advertising deals around sport (where legislative frameworks permit). In recent years, online gaming markets — including sports betting, poker, casino, bingo, lottery — have grown rapidly to €36.9 billion in 2014 from approximately €6.6 billion in 2003, and are expected to grow to approximately €42.8 billion by the end of 2018, says Moody’s. The online gambling sector offers growth opportunities for European gaming companies in 2016-17 versus traditional brick-and-mortar operations, despite likely pressure from increasing taxes and regulation, says Moody’s. Last year, the UK became the biggest hub for gambling M&A, as reported by ExitHub. The betting sector has seen a string of deals, as companies respond to higher tax bills in Britain, tighter regulation, growing competition, and rising use of mobiles and tablets. In the summer of 2015, bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral agreed to a £2 billion merger, which was quickly followed by a £5 billion merger between Paddy Power and betting exchange Betfair, creating a gambling behemoth. It was followed a month later by the conclusion of GVC’s drawn-out battle against Israeli online gambling company 888 to buy Foxy Bingo-owner Bwin.Party for more than £1 billion. Photo: David Baazov, founder and former chairman and CEO of Amaya.]]>