BC Partners Credit, the credit arm of BC Partners, and Riddell, Inc., the U.S. manufacturer of football helmet technology, announced a strategic partnership to advance Riddell’s central role in the game.

Founded in 1929 and based in Des Plaines, Ill., Riddell has served the football equipment market and sports community for nearly a century. Riddell designs and manufactures football helmets, protective sports equipment, head impact sensing and reporting technologies, and related apparel and accessories. The company also serves as the exclusive licensee of the NFL for collectible helmets and maintains promotional rights with the League as an authorized supplier of helmets worn by over 77 percent of NFL players. 

Riddell is also deeply involved in football, with key touchpoints at the grassroots level as its representatives are based in local communities to address customer needs and provide support. 

BC Partners’ $400 million investment in Riddell, which includes convertible preferred equity and debt, will “empower Riddell to accelerate innovation and make compelling investments in the business for the benefit of all stakeholders,” reported the company.

BC Partners will join Riddell’s Board, working closely with Riddell’s management team and investors, including majority investor Fenway Partners, who “has been pivotal to Riddell’s longstanding success.” 

Riddell will refinance certain existing debt and provide a dividend to current investors as part of the transaction.

“From its market leadership, attractive financial profile and differentiated portfolio, Riddell has demonstrated it is built for sustained success,” said Ted Goldthorpe, head of BC Partners Credit. “We are pleased to have structured an investment that is customized for Riddell as the company embarks on an exciting growth trajectory, with increased investments in research and product development, strategic partnerships and a best-in-class distribution platform. Dan and the entire Riddell team are exceptional, and we are excited to partner with them.”

Dan Arment, president and CEO of Riddell, said, “Riddell proudly welcomes BC Partners as advisors and investors in our business. We clearly maintain a shared vision for maximizing Riddell’s role in the rapidly evolving products and services landscape within football and sports. This alignment will ultimately strengthen Riddell’s service to our customers, drive increased financial performance, and deliver value for our investors, including BC Partners and Fenway Partners.”

Fenway Partners Co-Founder and Managing Partner Peter Lamm said, “We welcome BC Partners to the Riddell team and look forward to working with them to drive continued innovation and growth. With the best management team in the industry, Riddell is well positioned to deliver outstanding performance for athletes and value for all of its investors.”

Three Ocean Partners served as the financial advisor to BC Partners Credit on the preferred and debt financing. King & Spalding LLP acted as legal advisor. UBS Investment Bank and Baird served as financial advisors to Riddell. Lowenstein Sandler LLP acted as the legal advisor to the company in connection with the transaction.

Image courtesy Riddell