By Eric Smith

A healthy dose of straightforward mergers and acquisitions occurred in the sporting goods, outdoor and active lifestyle industries in 2018, but a handful of unconventional deals stole the spotlight.

Outside-the-box transactions—which garnered much more attention than traditional ones—included a Canadian retailer buying an iconic global brand, a company known primarily for golf equipment making a bold play in the outdoors world and a consortium of Chinese investors and a well-known active lifestyle name purchasing a multibillion-dollar sporting goods and outdoor giant.

Toss in a number of companies that ventured outside their traditional categories or geographies and 2018 was a dynamic one that kept the M&A teams at investment banks—not to mention SGB’s business writers—plenty busy.

Here’s a list of notable strategic and financial M&A deals in 2018 involving publicly traded and privately held companies. Transactions are listed in the month they were officially announced rather than when they closed. Click the headline to read more. Also, SGB published M&A monthly roundups beginning in March. Click the month for that period’s top deals (and look for the December roundup in early 2019).

December*

2018 is closing on a strong note, with a consortium involving Anta Sports, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and other investors acquiring Amer Sports, Marquee Brands announcing it would acquire Dakine and Thule Group adding rooftop tent strength by acquiring Tepui Outdoors.

Chinese Investor Consortium Reaches Agreement To Acquire Amer Sports

Marquee Brands Acquires Dakine

Thule Group Acquires Rooftop Tent Maker Tepui Outdoors

YFM Equity Partners Sells Stake In Gill Marine

Genesco Agrees To Sell Lids To Fanzz

GSM Acquires Crossfire Elite

Clean Bottle Acquired By Investment Firm

*Includes deals announced through Dec. 25

 

November

Two large acquisitions in the outdoor space bookended November—Canada Goose bought Baffin to kick off the month and Callaway bought Jack Wolfskin to close it—while a flurry of M&A activity occurred in the days between.

Canada Goose Steps Into Footwear With Acquisition of Baffin

Callaway Golf Company To Acquire Jack Wolfskin

BSN Sports Acquires B&H Sports In Grand Junction, CO

Logitech Ends Acquisition Negotiations With Plantronics

Endeavor Design Acquires Sandbox Helmets

Evo Enters Canada With Whistler Village Sports Acquisition

Clarus Enters Skincare Category With Asset Acquisition Of SKINourishment

Escalade Sports Acquires Victory Tailgate

Lew’s Holdings Acquires Southern Plastics

HydraPak Acquires Polar Bottle

Leatherman Tool Group To Sell Ledlenser

Newell Brands To Sell Pure Fishing To Sycamore Partners For $1.3 Billion

Digital Room Acquires Logo Sportswear

O2COOL Acquired By Maurice Sporting Goods

 

October

Acquisitions made by a fitness accessories company, a sporting goods retailer and a bike components manufacturer—each with vastly different track records of making deals—highlighted a busy month for M&A across the sporting goods, outdoor and active lifestyle industries.

Implus Acquires RockTape

Hibbett Sports To Acquire City Gear

Hayes Performance Systems Acquires Reynolds Cycling LLC

Caleres Announces Acquisition Of Vionic

DSW Reinvents Business Model With Camuto Group Acquisition

Xponential Fitness Acquires Pure Barre

Sports Tech Startup Prevent Biometrics Acquires X2 Biosystems

Huron Capital’s IQ Brands Acquires Wheel House Designs

DSW And Authentic Brands Group To Acquire Camuto Group

DTG2Go Acquires SSI Digital Print Services

Overload Golf Ventures Acquires Henry-Griffitts

BSN Sports Acquires Port Jeff Sporting Goods

Athletic Supply/Barcelona SG Acquires Three Team Dealers

VF Corp. To Sell Reef To The Rockport Group

 

September

Signs of the coming ski season were evident in many North American mountain towns as fall began, but ski area operators were especially active during the month as they expanded their empires.

Peak Resorts To Acquire Snow Time for $76 Million

Alterra Mountain Acquires Crystal Mountain Resort

JackRabbit Acquires Rhythm Running, to Open Two Stores

Founder Sport Group to Acquire Teamwork Athletic Apparel

GSM Acquires CoyoteLight

Velocity Outdoor Acquires Ravin Crossbows

 

August

August got off to a strong start when Implus announced it would acquire Pro Performance Sports LLC, dba SKLZ, a provider of multisport athletic performance and skill development training products.

Implus Acquires SKLZ

Charlesbank Capital Acquires Rockport; Gregg Ribatt Becomes CEO

Next Level Apparel Acquired by Private Equity Firm

Camping World Agrees to Acquire Holiday Hour RV in Illinois

Code Green Apparel Agrees to Acquire Zoombang Companies

Garmin Acquires FltPlan.com

Malibu Boats Acquires Pursuit Boats

Superflex Rebrands As Seismic, Acquires Assets of Lumo Bodytech

GSM Outdoors Acquires New Archery Products

AstroTurf Acquires Nagle Athletic Surfaces

Audax Private Equity Acquires Revolution Dancewear

Alta Gracia Acquired by Seasoned Team

 

July

July was quiet for M&A activity in the outdoor and active lifestyle space, but one noteworthy deal was Exxel Outdoors—parent of such brands as Kelty, Sierra Designs, Slumberjack, Wenzel and Ultimate Direction—adding Los Angeles, CA-based luxury bag maker Hex to its portfolio. The owners of both companies spoke exclusively with SGB about the deal.

SGB Exclusive: Exxel Outdoors’ Acquisition of Hex Hits All the Right Notes

Camping World to Acquire Russ Dean RV

Mammut Acquires Digital Outdoor Platform Mountain Hub

StreetTrend Acquires P448

BSN Sports Acquires Teamline

Intradeco Acquires Headsweats

Accell Group Fully Acquires Velosophy

North Pole Engineering Acquires the Wahoo GEM Product Line

Caleres Acquires Majority Stake in Blowfish Malibu

Huckberry Acquires Upscale Surf Brand Wellen

Gordon Brothers Acquires British Streetwear Brand Bench

Boot Barn Acquires Two-Store Boot Chain In Tulsa

 

June

Summer was an odd time to discuss what was happening at North American ski areas, but the escalating “arms race” between megaresort operators Vail Resorts Inc. and Alterra Mountain Co. was among the hottest M&A developments in June.

Vail Resorts to Acquire Four Ski Resorts

Alterra Acquires Solitude Mountain Resort

Dorel Sports Sells Sugoi And Sombrio To Louis Garneau Sports

Winnebago Acquires Chris-Craft

Varsity Brands to be Acquired by Bain Capital

Authentic Brands Group Acquires Nine West

Brunswick To Acquire Power Products’ Global Marine & Mobile Business

BSN Sports Acquires Kelly’s Sports

Dassault Systèmes Acquires Majority Stake In Centric Software

Differential Brands Group to Acquire Majority Of North American Division Of Global Brands Group

Flip Flop Shops Acquired By Bearpaw Parent

Gracedbygrit Acquired By Hylete

Peloton Acquires Neurotic Media

Rogue Fitness Acquires OSO Barbell

Trijicon To Acquire AmeriGlo

 

May

Although May was a relatively slow month for mergers and acquisitions activity in the outdoor and active lifestyle space, a few eye-opening transactions dominated headlines because they fell outside the scope of traditional deals, most notably retailer Canadian Tire agreeing to acquire Helly Hansen.

Canadian Tire Agrees To Acquire Helly Hansen

Ellett Brothers To Buy AcuSport In Asset Sale

Fireman Capital Acquires Largest Anytime Fitness Franchisee

T-H Marine Acquires Blue Water LED Assets

Tegra Acquires Fjord

Goliath Acquires Tucker

TSC Apparel Acquires Thinc Actionwear

Upventur Acquires Outdoor Adventure App Yonder

 

April

April was relatively quiet with fewer notable deals in the sporting goods, outdoor and lifestyle brand verticals, but some large companies such as Columbia, Nike and Amer acquired growth while some brands such as Volcom were put on the market.

Columbia Sportswear To Acquire Remaining Interest In China Joint Venture

Nike Acquires Israeli Computer Company

Amer Sports Acquires Peak Performance

Volcom Hits The Selling Block

Camping World Acquires Rock/Creek Outfitters

Implus Acquires Winter Traction Brand Stabil

Boot Barn Acquires Three-Store Boot Chain In Texas

SurfStitch Acquired By Alceon Group

Mainstream Holdings Buys Hawk Group

Unifi To Acquire National Spinning’s Dyed Yarn Unit

Camping World To Acquire Cullum & Maxey Camping Center

Bon-Ton Stores Inc. In Discussions With Going-Concern Bidder

 

March

This was an especially busy month for active lifestyle brands, led by JD Sports’ acquisition of Finish Line. Other notable deals included Billabong-Boardriders, Kathmandu-Oboz, Pentland-Endura and Fenix Outdoor-Royal Robbins.

JD Sports Agrees To Acquire The Finish Line

Billabong Shareholders Approve Boardriders Acquisition

Oboz To Be Acquired By Kathmandu

Ibex Finds A Buyer

Pentland Brands Acquires Endura

Fenix Outdoor Acquires Royal Robbins

Accell Acquires Beeline Bikes

Camping World To Acquire Dixie RV Superstore

Nike Acquires Data Analytics Leader Zodiac

Navajo Incorporated Acquires Maxx HD Sunglasses

Authentic Brands Group To Acquire Nautica

VF Corp. To Acquire Altra

12 ReTech Acquires E-motion Apparel

Art Gun Acquires DTG2Go Business

ISA TanTec To Acquire Auburn Leather Lace

 

February

Two leading wearables companies—Fitbit Inc. and Garmin Ltd.—announced deals in February to headline a slow month for M&A.

Garmin Acquires Trigentic

Fitbit To Acquire Twine Health

Super Retail Group To Acquire Macpac

PickleballCentral.com Announces Acquisition Of PickleballTournaments.com

Mad Engine Acquires Mighty Fine

GOAT Acquires Flight Club

 

January

Camping World Holdings Inc. started off its acquisitive 2018 with the announcement that it planned to purchase Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, a Midwest specialty retailer of outdoor gear and apparel. Camping World went on to make six acquisitions during the year.

Camping World Agrees To Acquire Erehwon Mountain Outfitter

Asics Ventures Acquires AI Silk

Acushnet Acquires Links & Kings

Otis Technology Acquires Shooter’s Choice

BSN Sports Acquires Gulf Coast Athletic Supply In Texas

Kinsey’s Acquires Pape’s

Photo courtesy Amer Sports

 

Eric Smith is Senior Business Editor at SGB Media. Reach him at ericsmith@sportsonesource.com or 303-578-7008. Follow on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.