United Sports Brands Rejoins Norwest Equity Partners Portfolio

28 November 2023

Norwest Equity Partners a leading middle market investment platform founded in 1961, has acquired United Sports Brands (“USB” or the “Company”), a dynamic portfolio of category-defining sporting goods and active lifestyle brands. The transaction closed on November 20, 2023, and financial terms were not disclosed.

With a collection of six unique brands — Shock Doctor, McDavid, Cutters, Nathan, PEARL iZUMi, and Glukos — USB is dedicated to advancing athletes with best-in-class sports performance and protective products. USB sells mission-critical products used at every level of sport including mouthguards, protective gear, sports medicine and therapy, cycling, gloves, and other sport focused accessories and apparel. The Company’s products are sold by top retailers in more than 65 countries, including sporting goods, specialty stores and e-commerce retail channels.

NEP’s history with USB brands dates to 2008, when it acquired Shock Doctor as part of its consumer products portfolio. During its initial six-year investment period with Shock Doctor, NEP worked together with CEO Tony Armand and management to enhance Shock Doctor’s position as a market leader in the performance and protective equipment category, as well as create and acquire new product lines. NEP sold Shock Doctor to Bregal Partners in 2014, which subsequently turned into United Sports Brands after expanding the brand portfolio through numerous acquisitions under Armand’s leadership. Armand joined NEP as a partner in 2018, and with the acquisition of USB, NEP will again be able to leverage Armand’s experience and knowledge of the business and consumer products industry.

Armand stated, “On behalf of the entire NEP team, we are thrilled to partner with USB again. USB has a rich history of success with a hallmark set of brands for athletes across all levels. Continued growth for the company will be driven by new product development, exceptional channel partnerships, and a relentless focus on the athlete.”

NEP brings deep industry experience to USB through past portfolio company partnerships in addition to Shock Doctor, including Wahoo Fitness, Pure Archery, Pelican Products, and Michaels of Oregon. NEP’s investment of both capital and resources for USB will be focused on continuing to build the Company’s solid core business and expanding its international reach and footprint.

“We are excited to add another sporting goods and active lifestyle platform to the NEP family of portfolio companies. NEP is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner again with USB and create long-term value for all stakeholders,” said Adam Garcia Eveloff, NEP managing director.

Baird advised NEP on the transaction, Jones Day was legal advisor to NEP, and BMO and Antares provided the debt financing. Lazard and Jeffries advised USB, which was previously owned by Bregal Partners.

USB headquarters are in Fountain Valley, California and regional offices are in Boulder, Colorado, Belgium, Japan, and Canada. More information can be found on nep.com.

About Norwest Equity Partners

Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a Norwest Capital strategy, seeks to invest in growing and profitable middle-market companies primarily across the business services, consumer services, consumer products and industrials sectors. For over 60 years, NEP has created opportunities, jobs, and value by finding and fueling what’s working in successful companies to help build them into industry leaders. Investing nationally from offices in Minneapolis and West Palm Beach, NEP takes a respectful, collaborative approach that sets it apart from other capital sources.

About United Sports Brands

United Sports Brands is a global leader in sports performance and protective products that help athletes perform at their personal best. USB brands include Shock Doctor, the #1 global leader in mouthguards and protection; McDavid, a performance and protective brand at the top of the recommended lists of pro athletes, sports medicine professionals, and athletic trainers for more than 35 years; Cutters, an innovative leader in football gloves and high-performance grip technology; Nathan, the running essentials market leader in athletic hydration, visibility, and performance gear; PEARL iZUMI, an iconic designer and producer of performance apparel and footwear for cyclists at every level; and Glukos, a developer of fast acting, all-natural energy products designed to help athletes unleash peak performance.

About Bregal Partners

Bregal Partners is a private equity team specializing in investments in consumer and multi-unit, food and beverage, and business services

Norwest Equity Partners
Jordan Niezelski, Edelman Smithfield
[email protected]