March 23, 2015 / 4:28 PM / 4 years ago

Finland's Amer Sports buys U.S. baseball brand Louisville Slugger

The new logo for the new Louisville Slugger bats is displayed on the top and bottom bats with the old logo in the middle at Hillerich & Bradsby's Louisville Slugger plant, Kentucky, April 1, 2013. REUTERS/ John Sommers II

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish sporting goods group Amer Sports will buy U.S. baseball brand Louisville Slugger for $70 million to step up growth at its ball sports unit, it said on Monday.

Louisville Slugger, owned by Hillerich & Bradsby Co, is the market leading wood bat in the United States, and last year the brand reported sales of $75 million.

Amer Sports, whose other brands include Wilson tennis rackets and Salomon skis, said the Louisville acquisition would improve its underlying operating profit margin from 2016.

Last year, Amer reported sales of 2.2 billion euros ($2.40 billion) and a core operating profit of 114 million euros.

Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; editing by Susan Thomas

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