Private equity firms eye bankrupt Performance Sports: sources

Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:12pm EST
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By John Tilak and Jessica DiNapoli

TORONTO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Multiple suitors are weighing bids to challenge the $575 million offer for Performance Sports Group Ltd made by a financial consortium in the bankruptcy court auction of the Bauer hockey gear maker, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, Bain Capital LP, KKR & Co LP (KKR.N: Quote), KPS Capital Partners LP, and Sycamore Partners have indicated their interest in the sporting goods company, the people said. The sources could not be named because the talks are private. The auction is scheduled for Jan. 30.

British retailer Sports Direct International plc (SPD.L: Quote) and Canadian pension fund Caisse De Depot et placement du Quebec have also submitted letters of interest, the people said.

Finnish sporting goods company Amer Sports, which makes Wilson sporting equipment, is interested in acquiring Performance Sports' baseball business, the people said.

Performance Sports filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Canada in October with a plan to sell itself.

The company's troubles highlight the challenges North American sporting goods manufacturers face in the highly competitive market. U.S. retailers Sports Authority and Golfsmith filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Performance Sports, Sycamore, Bain, Amer Sports (AMEAS.HE: Quote), Caisse, Thomas H. Lee, KPS and KKR declined to comment. Sports Direct did not respond to a request for comment.

A consortium led by investment firm Sagard Capital Partners LP and investment manager Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FFH.TO: Quote) made the initial so-called "stalking horse" offer of $575 million for Performance Sports, the proposal the other buyers must top to win the auction.   Continued...