Benneton Group has finally jettisoned the last of its Benneton Sportsystem brands, inking a deal Friday that will see current Prince management — led by CEO George Napier — partner with Lincolnshire Equity Fund II LP to purchase the former number one tennis brand.

BNG has agreed to sell the Prince and Ektelon brands and other assets for €36.5 million, or $39 million to the private equity group. Benetton said it will receive €10 million ($10.7 million) at the end of next month, and the remaining €26.5 million ($28.3 million) in January.

Prince reported sales of $82.3 million last year.

The deal, which should be finalized by the end of April, completes Benetton’s exit from its ill-fated venture into sporting goods. The company sold its Nordica ski unit and Rollerblade to cross-town Tecnica earlier this year.

The final tally for the sale of all Benneton Sportsystem brands totals just over $100 million.

The Benneton family spent in excess of $500 million for the once-stellar brands in the early 90’s. It was announced last month that three family members closely associated with this disaster were purged from BNG management positions.

Lincolnshire has a bit of history in the sporting goods market, purchasing the Riddell Group division of Riddell Sports in June 2001.


>>> Benneton was always focused on the European propensity for “form-over-function” and failed miserably with brands that were best known for technological advances and innovation. Perhaps management can now focus on “what works” again rather than “what looks good”…