Bell Sports, a leading marketer of helmets and accessories for bicycling and powersports, said it has agreed in principal to be acquired by Fenway Partners, Inc., a private equity firm. Fenway also owns Riddell Sports Group, a provider of football helmets and other branded sporting goods products and services. Bell Sports and Riddell will be combined to form one of the world’s largest protective headgear and related accessories companies.
Bill Fry, president and CEO of Bell Sports, has been appointed president and CEO of the new company, which has not yet been named. The combined company will design and market more than eight million helmets annually under the Bell, Giro (owned by Bell Sports) and Riddell brands.
Bell Sports has no plans to change its headcount, distribution strategy or business locations, the company said in a prepared statement.
Founded in 1954, Bell Sports invented the world’s first truly protective auto racing helmet, full-face motorcycle helmet and bicycle helmet. In the past two years, the company has expanded its research and development efforts by 25% and entered new markets, such as motorcycle helmets and fitness accessories. Today, through its Bell, Giro and licensed brands, Bell Sports holds more than 60% of the cycling and action sports helmet market and distributes to more than 10,000 retail storefronts. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Bell Sports has operations in Santa Cruz, Calif.; Rantoul, Ill.; York, Penn.; Hong Kong; and Limerick, Ireland.
“This strategic transaction reflects the Fenway value-building model at work,” said Peter Lamm, Chairman and Chief Executive of Fenway Partners. “We are bringing together a world class brand portfolio and two superb management teams that we believe will create a number of exceptional growth opportunities. This combination will lead to accelerated product introductions and expansion new markets and distribution channels.”
Fenway Partners is based in New York and manages funds totaling more than $1.4 billion. Riddell manufactures football helmets for the National Football League (NFL), college, high school and youth sports leagues. The company has three divisions: Team Sports Division, which sells game equipment, apparel and reconditioning services; Retail Division, which sells Riddell branded products based on NFL, Major League Baseball and NASCAR trademarks; and Licensing Division, which licenses the Riddell and MacGregor trademarks to other manufacturers.
Helmet House expands team
California-based Helmet House recently made a key promotion and expanded its management team through three new hires.
Eli Whitney, a 27-year Helmet House veteran, has been promoted to Tour Master Brand Sales Manager. It marks the first time in the company’s 35-year history that a sales manager has been appointed solely for the rapidly growing and expanding Tour Master and Cortech lines of riding apparel, gloves, soft bags and luggage, and rainsuits. Whitney spent his first 22 years as a Helmet House sales representative in the Southern California market. Five years ago, he was promoted to field sales trainer. Then, in 2001, to regional sales manager. Whitney’s new role will have him working more closely with the New Products department, assisting with product improvements and new-product development and testing. He will also aid the regional sales managers in continuing to build the Tour Master and Cortech brands and further increase their market shares, along with conducting dealer and consumer seminars.
Helmet House hired Scott McBrien to fill Whitney’s former position as regional sales manager. Relocating from Phoenix, McBrien joins the company with an extensive background in sales, sales management and sales training.
Jim Reznik is another new regional sales manager added to the Helmet House roster. Reznik has 20 years experience in golf industry sales and spent the past eight years as sales manager of Sayco International, a golf equipment distributor in the Midwest. All will report to David Kane, national sales manager.
The third new addition to Helmet House’s management staff is Chief Financial Officer Randy Hutchings. A CPA, Hutchings is no stranger to Helmet House, having worked with the company’s accounting firm for the past 11 years.
Founded in 1969, Helmet House is a full-service national motorcycle-products distributor. Its core brands are Shoei and HJC Helmets, Tour Master and Cortech. Shoei, Tour Master, and Cortech are exclusive lines with the company. Helmet House’s operates two distribution centers, one in Calabasas, Calif., the other in Memphis, Tenn. Its headquarters are at 26855 Malibu Hills Road, Calabasas Hills, Calif. 91301.
Second Look joins Tucker Rocky
Second Look Skins are no longer available from Lockhart Phillips , but can now be purchased through Tucker Rocky Distributing.
TR’s mid-year “Sportbike specific” catalog will include all Second Look Skins back to 2002, plus newly available embroidered Skins.
Second Look asks that dealers call the company directly at 866/332-5665 for custom work and Skins dating back to 1985.
Kryptonite expands, reorganizes
Kryptonite, owned for the past three years by Ingersoll-Rand’s Security and Safety Sector, recently announced the addition of personnel in its product development, marketing and customer service departments. The company also promoted three employees within its Action Sports channel, which will now be headed by Tim Clifford, director of sales.
Dan Hayes has been tapped to fill the newly created position of category manager, Mass Market; Stephanie Boyle has been placed as category manager, Commercial Channel;
Eric Anastasia joins the marketing department as market analyst, working with category managers Dan Hayes and Don Warren; Tim Golnik was placed in an industrial design position; and Melissa McPherson has been hired to serve the dual role of Kryptonite receptionist and member of the customer service team.
Hayes, Boyle and Anastasia will report to Karen Rizzo, director of marketing and brand management; Golnik will report to Neil Mc Daid, director of product design and development; and McPherson will report to Rosalie Garver, customer service manager.
Kryptonite also reorganized its Action Sports channel with plans to expand this section of the business in the next few months. Reporting to general manager Steve Down, Tim Clifford has been appointed director of sales, charged with leading Roby Holland and Nadine Fallon, who have recently been promoted to sales manager and account manager, respectively.
Holland will service all Action Sports distributor accounts as well as oversee Kryptonite’s Tech Team and external sales force; Fallon will have daily contact internally and externally with all of Kryptonite’s independent bicycle and powersports dealer accounts.
Sunstar names sales coordinator
Sunstar Sprockets has named Mike Scruggs as new sales and marketing coordinator. Scruggs will have several diverse responsibilities likely to call upon his motocross, roadrace, and supermoto racing experience.
Scruggs can be contacted at Sunstar Sprockets, 700 Watkins Glen Drive, Franklin, Ohio 45005; 937/743-9049 ext. 1331
Parts adds Dynojet specialist
LeMans Corporation, parent company to Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties, has enlisted former S&S Cycle supervisor Dan Berkes as its Dynojet Product Specialist.
Berkes served in Tech Services and as Education and Dealer Sales Manager for S&S for over half a decade. He also spent 15 years as a V-twin custom performance shop owner, and operated a portable dyno at open houses and special events. His dealer role encompassed stints with Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, and Yamaha franchises.
Berkes is based at the LeMans Corporation home office in Janesville, Wisc.
auger joins kimpex
Kimpex has hired former BRP marketing manager Martin Auger as its new marketing director.
Based in Kimpex’s Drummondville headquarters in Canada, Auger will be responsbile for spearheading the introduction of new marketing programs while backing the distributor’s product brands, among them Shark, CKX, Reima, Rhyno and Ipone.
2005 Hardline catalog
The 2005 catalog from Hardline Products is now available. Marine, PWC, ATV, Motorcycle and Snowmobile accessories fill 21-pages. New product offerings include the Kwik Twist to tie down tarps, boat covers or secure ice chests; the VHF Flag Flyer, which allows use of a VHF antennae as a flag pole; the Hitch Case, safely storing two to six-inch drop hitches inside a vehicle; and the twelve pack cooler bag designed specifically to survive powersports use.
For a free catalog, call Hardline Products at 805/581-4700 or visit www.hardlineproducts.com.
Smith updates warranty policy
Idaho-based Smith Optics says it will now warrant all sunglasses for the life of the product, offering repairs or replacements at no charge for manufacturer defects.
Smith offered a one-year warranty prior to the change, announced August 19.
“Smith has built its reputation on high quality eyewear,” said Ned Post, president of Smith Optics. “We want our customers to feel secure with a Smith Optics purchase, and our new lifetime warranty shows we stand behind our product and value our customers.”
To further aid consumers of its product, Smith also now offers a repair and replacement policy. In simplest of terms, this means that if Smith sunglasses are damaged for any reason other than loss or manufacturer defect, Smith will repair or replace the sunglasses for a nominal fee.
For more information about Smith’s Lifetime Sunglass Warranty and Repair/Replacement Policy or instructions on how to repair or replace sunglasses, go to www.smithoptics.com/customerservice/warranty.htm.
Galfer USA Moved
Galfer USA has moved locations. The company can now be found at 310 Irving Ave., Oxnard, Calif. 93030, or contacted via phone, 805/988-2900. The company’s Internet site, www.galferusa.com, is under construction. psb
Copyright 2004 Powersports Business