Fenway Partners has completed its acquisition and merger of Bell Sports, which includes both the Bell and Giro brands of Bicycle and Snow Sports helmets, with Riddell. The new company produces more than eight million helmets annually and will have projected 2004 revenues of more than $300 million.
According to Fenway, the combination provides both companies with access to all major distribution channels and a global sourcing network to expand the breadth of products offered by each, which will accelerate the execution of their current business strategies. The new merged entity will be headed by Bell Sports president and CEO Bill Fry, who joined Bell in 2001. Bill Sherman will remain president and CEO of Riddell and serve on the board of the combined company.
In connection with the acquisition of Bell and the merger with Riddell, Fenway arranged a new $130.2 million senior secured credit facility and completed a $140 million, 144A senior subordinated notes offering. Proceeds from these financings were used for the purchase of Bell Sports and for refinancing of existing indebtedness.
Fenway has stated that the new company will supply helmets to 85% of the NFL as well as six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, BMX stunt-riding champion Dave Mirra, leading freestyle skier Tanner Hall, and supercross champion Jeremy McGrath. Bell Sports is estimated to own about 60% of the cycling and action sports helmet market.