2019 saw consolidation accelerate across the active lifestyle market, but almost as remarkable as the sheer volume of M&A was the variety of deals that closed during the calendar year.

Retailers and brands accounted for the majority of transactions in the outdoor, sporting goods and fitness sectors but a host of privately held and publicly traded businesses—from ski resort operators to media providers to trade show operators to tech companies—pulled the trigger on industry-shifting moves.

Major acquirers included Nike, BSN Sports, Vail Resorts, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Winnebago, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), and Acushnet. Those that rightsized their portfolios through divestitures included Dick’s Sporting Goods, Vista Outdoor, Amer Sports, and Accell Group. Other notable sales included Confluence Outdoor to Pelican International; Fitbit to Google; Volcom, Barneys and Sports Illustrated to ABG.

Below is the full list of M&A deals in 2019 that SGB Executive chronicled. Transactions are listed in the month they were officially announced rather than when they closed. Click on the Headlines to read more.

SGB Executive also published M&A monthly roundups that go into more detail on some of the bigger deals. Click on the Month to read more. In early 2020, we will publish the December roundup.

The year closed on a strong note thanks to a paddlesports acquisition becoming one of the most-read stories of the year. Pelican International’s purchase of Confluence Outdoor gave the Canadian canoe and kayak maker additional shares in a shifting market (that deal will lead our December 2019 M&A Roundup, scheduled for the first week of 2020).

*Includes deals announced through December 23, 2019

Snowsports Industries America (SIA) headlined November’s M&A activity following its mid-month announcement that it plans to acquire several consumer-facing shows including the Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo. SIA had been out of the live event business since 2017 when it sold the long-running January Snow Show to Outdoor Retailer.

New Zealand-based outdoor retailer and gear brand Kathmandu Holdings Ltd. made waves in October with its $236 million acquisition of Australian surf brand Rip Curl for $236 million. Nike (divesting Hurley) and JackRabbit (adding Olympia Sports) also made significant changes to their respective portfolios.

In a move that ranked among the most-read stories in 2019, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. sold eight Field & Stream stores to Sportsman’s Warehouse Inc. for $28 million. As SGB reported in our follow-up analysis of the deal, the move was mutually beneficial for Dick’s and Sportsman’s, which doubled down on firearms, as competitors like Dick’s move on. Sportsman’s Warehouse CEO Jon Barker shared much more in our December conversation.

M&A heated up in the final full month of summer with several market-shifting transactions led by Camping World Holdings Inc. agreeing to sell outdoor specialty retailers Rock/Creek Outfitters (seven locations in Tennessee) and Uncle Dan’s Outdoor Store (six locations, including five in Illinois and one in Wisconsin) to Gearhead Outfitters (10 locations in the Mid-South) for an undisclosed amount.

A bustling month was led by Broomfield, CO-based Vail Resorts Inc. announcing it had agreed to acquire Wildwood, MO-based Peak Resorts Inc. for $264 million. Other market-shifting deals included Anoka, MN-based Vista Outdoor Inc. selling its Savage Arms and Stevens firearms brands, and Acushnet Holdings Corp., the parent of Titleist and Footjoy, acquiring ski and golf sportswear brand Kjus for $28.7 million.

Italy-based Oberalp Group on June 21 broadened its focus on mountain sports by announcing the acquisition of U.S. climbing shoe brand Evolv. Another notable deal included fishing hook manufacturer O. Mustad & Son’s acquiring recreational fishing line brand TUF-Line.

May was headlined by a European lifestyle retailer entering the U.S. market through a timely acquisition. German-based streetwear retailer Snipes acquired Philadelphia, PA-based retailer KicksUSA. Snipes, which has been part of Germany’s Deichmann Group since 2011, will transition its brand, signage and operations to 62 existing KicksUSA stores along the East Coast.

BSN Sports became a fixture in our monthly roundup of M&A activity, and April saw the nation’s largest direct marketer and distributor of sporting goods to the school and league markets grow again with the addition of two assets. The month also saw Volcom find a new owner with Authentic Brands Group (ABG).

JD Sports strategically shored up its U.K. portfolio with the purchase of a rival retailer. In a deal valued at £90.1 million ($119.6 million), JD Sports bought fellow Manchester, England-based Footasylum, a smaller competitor that has been struggling. The deal came a month after JD Sports took an initial 8 percent stake in Footasylum, and the companies already had ties through their management teams.

Garmin Ltd. put Peloton in its sights with its agreement to acquire Tacx Onroerend en Roerend Goed B.V, (Tacx), a privately held Dutch company that designs and manufactures indoor bike trainers, tools and accessories, as well as indoor training software and applications. Adding Tacx gives Garmin a solid position in the year-round indoor cycling and training market.

SGB Media’s parent company, SportsOneSource LLC, on January 30, agreed to sell assets related to the company’s SSI Data POS Sports and Outdoor tracking platform to The NPD Group.

Photo courtesy Boston Ski & Snowboard Expo