NEW YORK — Lining up its third acquisition in eight months, Russell Corp. has agreed to buy the non-golf operations of Spalding Sports Worldwide for $65 million.
Spalding generates $300 million in annual sales, with golf accounting for about $210 million of that amount and sporting goods the remaining $90 million. The deal, expected to be completed by the end of next month, should "mildly" increase Russell’s earnings, a Russell spokeswoman said Thursday.
It will also broaden Russell’s scope beyond apparel. Spalding has had notable success in recent seasons with its line of Infusion inflatable sports balls.
The acquisition will give Russell ownership of Spalding, Dudley softballs and Sherrin, an Australian label, and leave Spalding as a stand-alone golf business.
Spalding, founded in 1876 by Hall of Fame pitcher Albert Spalding, is the official ball supplier for the NBA, WNBA, American Volleyball Association, the NCAA volleyball and Major Indoor Soccer League.
Jack Ward, president and chief executive of Russell Corp., said: "Spalding is one of the oldest, largest and best-known global sporting goods brands and certainly fits into our strategic plan for growth through our athletic heritage."
In February, Russell acquired Bike Athletic and last fall it bought Moving Comfort. For now, Russell’s "big concern is finishing the Spalding deal and working through the transition, as well as the one with Bike Athletic," a spokeswoman said.
Spalding has 60 licensees around the world for apparel, footwear and sporting goods. Fashion Options and Jacques Moret will continue to produce Spalding’s women’s apparel until their respective contracts run out, the spokeswoman said.
The announcement helped Russell’s stock on Thursday move up 16 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $18.16 — just $1.25 shy of the 52-week high reached exactly one year ago Thursday — in New York Stock Exchange trading.
Scott Creelman, who left Spalding after 26 years as president of international licensing in 2000, has been rehired by Russell to serve as president. Most recently, he worked as a consultant in the sporting goods industry.
Russell plans to keep Spalding’s headquarters in the Chicopee, Mass., area, and is currently looking for a new office for the 40 employees that will be based there. Russell will maintain some of Spalding’s current workforce and will also do additional hiring, the Russell spokeswoman said.Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said Thursday that the ratings and outlook on Russell Corp. will not be affected by the company’s announcement that it intends to acquire the brand names, inventory and contracts of Spalding Sports Worldwide Inc.’s sporting goods business.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast