Sport Brands International, LLC (SBI) on Tuesday closed the $351 million acquisition of all global Fila subsidiaries, which include Fila USA, Fila Sport SpA, Fila Nederland BV, Ciesse Piumini SRL and Enyce, from Fila Holding S.p.A. SBI will also assume all debt accumulated since the beginning of the year.
Sport Brands International is a newly formed affiliate of Cerberus, a private U.S. investment fund manager. The new company is expected to operate from the current Fila USA headquarters in Sparks, MD and from offices in New York. SBI will also continue to operate the three Fila Holding offices in Italy.
Jon Epstein, formerly CEO of Fila USA, has been named President and CEO of SBI and will assume global responsibility for all operating companies including Fila, Ciesse Piumini and Enyce. Epstein came to Fila USA in 1998 from Adidas America where he was National Sales Manager. He will work primarily fro SBIs New York offices.
Gene Yoon will be CEO and President of SBI in Asia and will oversee activities in the region including sourcing. Yoon is founder and CEO of Fila Korea, which runs 400 Fila franchise stores there. Tom ORiordan will assume the role of CEO of SBI in the Americas. ORiordan was formerly Chief Operating Officer of Fila USA. Robert Galvin has been named worldwide CFO as well as President of European operations. Galvin recently was CAO of Kurt Salmon Associates. Previously, he had been CFO of Nine West Group.
Epstein said SBI plans to build the Fila brand in traditional categories including tennis, running, basketball, soccer, fitness and winter sports, as well as sportswear. Additionally, the company plans to build upon its success in motor sports – which began in 2002 through license agreements with world-renowned brands such as Ferrari. SBI will also continue to support and grow the highly successful Enyce brand.
In an exclusive interview with SPORTS EXECUTIVE WEEKLY, ORiordan said that Cerberus, the investment group who lead the purchase, would remain in the background. “They acted as an investor that had faith in the management team. They supported the management buyout and now will step back and let us run the company.”
ORiordan also announced that Greg Neal, formerly of adidas and Lugz had been hired to head up Apparel sales. He added that SBI would be announcing shortly a director for Europe and a “high profile” senior VP of merchandising, who has a strong background in the running category.
The company will divide the globe into three regions, Europe, Asia and America. The current European region is in need of reorganization, and a systems update.
On the US side of the pond, the focus will be on product and marketing. SBI feels Fila has made good inroads in the performance tennis and running categories and will expand their performance presence in Basketball as well. The company is planning a TV campaign for later this year.
Fila USA has about 450 full-time employees, including about 175 in Sparks and another 110 at a warehouse.
Holding di Partecipazioni said it will offer to buy the 8.6 million Fila ordinary shares and American depositary shares it doesnt own for $1.12 each — 2 cents a share more than Tuesday’s closing price — in order to take Fila Holding private. It plans to use the net proceeds from the sale to invest in new business. After the sale, the assets of Fila Holding consist entirely of $30 million to $35 million in cash.