United Sports Brands (“USB”), a global leader in sports performance and protective products, today announced that it has acquired PEARL iZUMi USA (“PEARL iZUMi”), an iconic manufacturer and retailer of cycling apparel and accessories. PEARL iZUMi will join USB’s portfolio of protective and performance sports equipment sold under the Shock Doctor, McDavid, Cutters, NATHAN, and Glukos brands
PEARL iZUMi was founded in Tokyo in 1950 and entered the US market during the ‘80s cycling boom. In 1989, four investors in Boulder, Colo., bought the rights to build a US-based PEARL iZUMi brand, leveraging technology and fabrics from the original company in Japan. Since then, the brand has grown to be the market leader in cycling apparel in the US, and is widely distributed across Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2008, PEARL iZUMi was acquired by Shimano, a Japanese multinational manufacturer of cycling components, fishing tackle and rowing equipment. The brand has since realized significant US and international growth driven by its core road cycling apparel category and by emerging categories such as mountain bike, casual apparel, and footwear. PEARL iZUMi has also become a leader in corporate social responsibility, with 90% of products now made from sustainable materials and a goal to become carbon-neutral by 2025. As part of the USB platform, PEARL iZUMi will be extremely well- positioned to capitalize on these tailwinds and continue to build its attractive market position.
“This is an exciting time for PEARL iZUMi,” said Geoff Shaffer, President of PEARL iZUMi. “We have tremendous momentum and an amazing team that’s dedicated to continuing to grow the brand to new heights. Shimano has provided significant support and guidance throughout its ownership, and while we will miss being part of Team Shimano, we also know there is great future potential for the brand and look forward to continuing to grow our business with USB.”
“Shimano has worked hard to support and build up the PEARL iZUMi brand for our retailers and the consumer alike,” says Nolan Moser, Vice President, Bicycle Division from Shimano North America Bicycle, Inc. “We believe that United Sports Brands will be able to further this growth and we are committed to supporting our retail partners throughout the transition to ensure continued success at all levels.”
“We are very pleased to welcome PEARL iZUMi into the United Sports Brands family,” said USB’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Magerman. “PEARL iZUMi is an iconic, authentic, and much- loved brand that is strongly aligned with our current portfolio of brands at USB. Their culture of driving innovation and best-in-class product development—always with a “consumer-first” mindset—is consistent with our strategy at United Sports Brands. We intend to continue that product innovation and leadership under our stewardship. The addition of PEARL iZUMi, along with our running apparel and accessory company, NATHAN, makes us a formidable player in the outdoor space. We see great opportunity for continued organic growth and expansion in this segment of the market,” added Magerman.
PEARL iZUMi remains committed to partnering with leading retailers in North America, including independent bike dealers and national outdoor retailers, to ensure that the brand is available wherever cycling consumers prefer to shop.
PEARL iZUMi will operate with the support of Shimano for a transition period to meet the needs of retailers and maintain the business as planned.
BDA Partners and Squire Patton Boggs represented Shimano, and Dechert LLP represented Bregal Partners and United Sports Brands in this transaction.
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. The 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, the innovative leader in football gloves and high-performance grip technology, NATHAN, the running essentials market leader in athletic hydration, visibility, and performance gear; and Glukos, a developer of fast- acting, all-natural energy products designed to help athletes unleash their peak performance. For more information, visit www.unitedspb.com.
About PEARL iZUMi: PEARL iZUMi was founded on two things: the love of cycling and, more importantly, love for future generations. The brand originated more than 70 years ago in Japan when the founder created a special jersey out of technical fabric for his son, an aspiring bike racer. Since then, the company has been progressing the design and manufacture of performance apparel and footwear for cyclists of all levels. PEARL iZUMi believes that how we live shapes how future generations ride and is committed to using its business practices, products, and community advocacy to fight climate change. PEARL iZUMi’s world headquarters are in the Colorado Front Range, where it embraces strong influence, both culturally and structurally, from its Japanese heritage. For more information, visit www.pearlizumi.com.