Bicycle component maker SRAM said a deal to sell 40% of the company to a unit of bankrupt Lehman Brothers has not closed but is moving forward. If the deal falls through, SRAM will merely look for a new strategic financial partner to help finance its global expansion, according to a statement released by SRAM the day Lehman filed for protection from creditors in bankruptcy court.
“If the transaction doesnt occur there is absolutely no disruption to our operations,” read a statement provided by SRAM spokesman Michael Zellman. “We will simply move forward and reconsider finding a new strategic financial partner at some point in the future.”
The statement added that “SRAM is financially sound and completely capable of moving forward without the LBMB investment.”
Lehman Brothers Merchant Bank (LBMB) is still scheduled to complete its investment in SRAM in a closing in the first week of October. The bank syndication is complete and the capital calls have been sent to LBMBs Limited Partners, the e-mail said.
The statement said that Lehman Brothers filing Chapter 11 shouldnt impair the ability of LBMB to complete the transaction since it is a separate, albeit related corporate entity. But he conceded that “Certainly the headlines loom large and their may be a practical pause. We will certainly know more within a few days.”
Relations between SRAM and LBMB remain strong and have been “reinforced over the almost two months since” the two companies announced the deal, the statement said.
“The LBMB partners did not cause the problems that have created the problems at Lehman Brothers. The LBMB partners have been caught in an unexpected crossfire.”
SRAM said in early August that it chose LBMB after an extensive search for a strategic financial investor to support its continued growth in the global bicycle components industry. The deal was geared to help boost R&D at SRAM’s growing stable of brands and help establish the $10 million SRAM Cycling Advocacy Fund.
The fund was to be established and capitalized the day Lehman closed on its purchase of SRAM. Half the fund is to come from SRAM and half from LBMB. If established, the fund will support advocacy in the U.S., Europe and Asia on policy issues affecting cycling infrastructure and the bicycle industry. SRAM has said the fund would pay out approximately $2 million per year for 5 years.
Headquartered in Chicago, SRAM produces a full line of high performance bicycle components for original equipment manufacturers and independent bike dealers. The company markets its products under the SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ, and Zipp brand names. After more than 20 years in the bike industry, SRAM expects 2008 revenues to approach $500 million.
“The most important point is that this effort was a long term strategic choice by SRAM,” SRAMs statement concluded. “We wanted to add an experienced professional investor to our shareholder base.”