Kent Outdoors has secured a $100 million credit facility from asset-based lender Eclipse Business Capital. The deal follows investments from Goldman Sachs and Comvest Partners. With the financial support of its backers, Kent expects to make significant operational improvements and add new leadership.

“We appreciate being trusted to deliver this critical financing on an expedited timeline. It was a pleasure partnering with such a select group—the Company, Arete Capital Partners as well as term lenders including Goldman Sachs and Comvest,” said Marty Battaglia, chief executive officer of Eclipse Business Capital.

“We appreciate Eclipse’s partnership approach; their organization worked expeditiously throughout and delivered the financing exactly as outlined. The capital investment is instrumental to maintaining solid partnerships with our key vendor partners and customers while allowing Kent the flexibility to also pursue new growth opportunities,” said Kent Executive Chairman Lee Belitsky. “The support also allows the company to continue to build our market share by attracting new marquee customers and maintaining long-term relationships with key suppliers.”

Belitsky joined Kent as part of the capital investment, bringing his experience in the sporting goods industry having held executive leadership roles at Dick’s Sporting Goods over the past 25 years. 

Recently, Kent also appointed Rob Otto as chief financial officer. Otto joined Kent after completing the sale of RW Designs, where he was the company’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the wholesale and direct-to-consumer business. Before this, Otto held CFO and COO executive leadership roles at multiple CPG companies, including Z Gallerie, Hudson Jeans, Seven For All Mankind, and Affliction Holdings.

“We are encouraged by the commitment to Kent’s brands from its employees and stakeholders,” said Kent Sowell, vice president of Goldman Sachs. “Coupled with new additions to the Kent executive leadership team, we are excited to support the company as it focuses on its next phase of growth.”

The company has retained key leaders in its core divisions, including Dave Cook in the Outdoors Division and C.J. Vlahovich in Watersports, who have been with the company for over 25 years. Additionally, Zack Eckert, who has extensive outdoor industry experience, was promoted to general manager of the Bote brand. Eckert has been with Bote for over five years, most recently as vice president of sales, and previously held various leadership positions with West Marine for more than 11 years.

“Kent is synonymous with outdoor sports and the pursuit of outdoor adventure,” said Cook. “Focusing on the company’s profitable core business lines that provide the greatest promise for long-term growth will help right the ship and navigate the Company into calmer waters.” 

In connection with the investment of capital and the management team coming on board, the company performed a strategic review of its operating units and determined that it would continue to seek a buyer for its bike business, Kona. This move allows the company to direct its resources toward investing in key water sports businesses. The company reported that the “bike industry has faced very significant challenges in the post-COVID world, and Kona has not been immune to these headwinds.”

“Within the Kent Outdoors family of brands, we pride ourselves on a robust legacy characterized by resilience and an unwavering ability to overcome hurdles, consistently emerging stronger in the face of adversity,” said Vlahovich. “While the path to improvement has been demanding, our devoted team remains steadfast in our conviction that Kent Outdoors is destined to continue as the foremost innovator in cultivating vibrant brands that elevate outdoor enjoyment for all.”

Image coutesy Ho Sports/Kent Outdoors