Rawlings Sporting Goods Company Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets of the ABC Helmet Company. Founded by baseball’s legendary Hall of Famer Branch Rickey in 1952 to manufacture protective batting helmets, ABC has been supplying batting helmets to Major League Baseball since Rickey first helped to introduce the concept of protective headgear.

The cash transaction is expected to close in the third quarter and is intended to help build on Rawlings strength as the number one batting helmet manufacturer. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and K2 indicated the acquisition is not expected to have any material effect on revenues or earnings in 2003.

In conjunction with this acquisition, ABC’s Exclusive Supplier contract with Major League Baseball Properties has been extended through 2008, together with Rawlings contract to use the marks and logos for all 30 Major League Baseball clubs on retail batting helmets. ABC is also the preferred batting helmet of collegiate players.

Rob Wolfe, president of ABC and Branch Rickey’s grandson, will join Rawlings management team following the completion of the transaction.

“Our acquisition of ABC allows Rawlings to increase the breadth of our 30-year relationship with Major League Baseball, and it furthers our mission to provide the best sports equipment to athletes of all ages and abilities,” said Stephen M. OHara, chief executive officer of Rawlings Sporting Goods. “We are delighted that Rob Wolfe has agreed to join the Rawlings team and look forward to working with him to continue providing the best baseball helmets in the world.”