FILA Korea Now Owns Titleist!

Yes it is true…after 6-months of rumors, some pretty heavy bidding and navigating through some antitrust issues…the iconic brand Titleist has been sold for $1.225 Billion dollars.  Some of you might remember the name of the new owner….FILA….yes FILA Korea Ltd. now owns (well officially in the summer) Titleist.

Don’t Break Out In To A Cold Sweat Yet

Remember FILA golf clubs from early 90’s?  Well for those that do…the somewhat shocking news today of the Titleist sale to FILA might have you breaking out in a cold sweat.  Well good news…you can relax. The FILA name won’t be replacing the Titleist engraving in the cavity of their clubs any time soon.  And FILA jumpsuit raingear won’t be replacing the FootJoy line either.  Collaborations are often a good thing but we all know that some can lead to disaster.  When you try mixing the likes of a Tupac & Neil Diamond together rarely do you have a #1 hit on your hands.  FILA focuses on a younger audience then Titleist….typically 18- to 34-year-old consumers for FILA and closer to 40- to 65 for Titleist.  So this is not that type of collaboration.  This I feel will be a strictly cash collaboration…and they will pretty much stay out of Wally Uihlein and Titleist’s way.  This is one case where the cliche, “Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke” applies.

And for those not happy hearing this news….think for a second….it could have been worse…those rumors about Dick’s buying Titleist could have been true 😉  That would have been a catastrophe for the Titleist brand in my opinion.

And when you think of Titleist while Fortune Brands owned them…did you think of Liquor?  Yes the name will change to FILA…but everything else will most likley stay the same.  They would be fool’s to change much about the already most profitable golf company in the world.  They’ve got the #1 Golf Ball, #1 Golf Shoe, #1 Golf Glove and oh yeah there clubs do alright as well.  Titleist will remain a standalone company.

OBLIGATORY LETTER FROM TITLEIST CEO

Wally Uihlein Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

May 20, 2011
To all Acushnet Company Trade Partners:

In December, 2010, we shared an announcement that our parent company, Fortune Brands, had approved a plan for the sale or tax-free spin-off of the Acushnet Company. Today, Fortune Brands announced that it has signed an agreement for the sale of Acushnet Company to a consortium led by Fila Korea Ltd., the owner of the Fila brand globally, and Mirae Asset Private Equity, the largest private equity firm in Korea, as described in the attached news releases.

As one of the largest golf equipment companies in the world, this begins a new chapter for the Acushnet Company and an opportunity to build upon the game’s longest running records of golf equipment success. Titleist and FootJoy are two of golf’s most revered and iconic golf brands delivering superior performance and quality excellence in their respective product categories.

The Fila Korea and Mirae group understand and appreciate our golf industry leadership, passionate associates and our unique and enduring culture. Acushnet’s worldwide headquarters will remain in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and Fila Korea and Mirae have expressed their intent to keep Acushnet a standalone operation and keep the Acushnet management team in place. Together, with our new owners, we share a collective desire to continue to provide you and golfers with the best-in-class products and service that you’ve come to expect from Titleist and FootJoy.

Transition is nothing new for Acushnet Company. The Golf Division was founded in 1932. In 1935, the first Titleist golf ball was brought to market. Fortune Brands acquired Acushnet Company in 1976, and Acushnet acquired FootJoy in 1985. Titleist has been the #1 ball in golf for over 60 years and counting, and a leader in high performance clubs. FootJoy claims the #1 position in golf shoes, golf gloves and outerwear.

The Acushnet Company has long been the trusted steward of the Titleist and FootJoy brands and we remain steadfast in our mission to provide you and golfers around the globe with the highest performance and quality equipment in the game.

We greatly appreciate your loyal support of our brands, products and people, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with you as we move forward.

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What Are Your Thoughts On The Deal?