Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has inked a deal to acquire Academy Sports + Outdoors, expanding the private equity giant’s retail holdings and giving it a toehold in athletic apparel.
The deal is expected to close in six to eight weeks with the Gochman family retaining a minority stake in the 131-door sporting goods firm. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Katy, Texas-based retailer drew in revenues of more than $2.7 billion last year through stores in 11 Southeastern states and has about 16,000 workers on its payrolls.
Academy sells fishing and hunting gear, fitness equipment, apparel and footwear. Brands such as Nike, Under Armour, Levi’s, Columbia and Adidas are featured on its Web site.
“We are long-term investors who look for leading retail franchises, and Academy Sports + Outdoors is a perfect fit,” said Mike Calbert, head of KKR’s retail investment team. “The Gochman family has built an unparalleled business and we look forward to continuing in their tradition of providing great value, outstanding service and an unrivaled shopping experience for its customers.”
Rodney Faldyn will continue as president of the retailer and add the title of chief executive officer once the deal is closed.
“This transaction with KKR will help accelerate Academy’s continued growth and provide even greater flexibility to achieve our strategic goals,” said Faldyn.
In a confidential letter to vendors obtained by WWD, Faldyn said the deal “will not have any impact on our operations or on your relationship with Academy Sports + Outdoors. It is simply a change in ownership. It will remain business as usual here at Academy. We will continue to protect our unwavering commitment to customer experience by delivering on our four pillars of selection, everyday low prices, convenience and customer service.”
He also said Robert Frennea would be executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for the firm’s four divisions — footwear, apparel, field and stream, and sports and leisure.
KKR has $61 billion in assets under management and a number of investments in retail, including Dollar General Corp. and Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. in the U.S., Pets at Home in the U.K. and do-it-yourself chain Maxeda BV in The Netherlands.