In The News

KPS Capital Partners to Acquire Sport Group

Apr 08, 2024

KPS CAPITAL PARTNERS TO ACQUIRE SPORT GROUP

A GLOBAL LEADER IN ARTIFICIAL TURF AND POLYURETHANE SPORTS

AND RECREATION SURFACES

New York, NY (April 8, 2024) -- KPS Capital Partners, LP (“KPS”) announced today that, through a newly formed affiliate, it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sport Group TopCo GmbH, including the AstroTurf, Polytan, Rekortan and Laykold brands, (“Sport Group” or the “Company”) from funds advised by Equistone Partners Europe. Completion of the transaction is expected in the second quarter of 2024 and is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals. 

Sport Group is a leading designer, manufacturer and installer of artificial surfaces serving the global sports flooring, leisure and landscaping and industrial markets to over 70 countries globally. Headquartered in Burgheim, Germany, the Company’s brand portfolio includes AstroTurf (the iconic brand that invented the industry), Polytan, SYNLawn, LigaTurf, Poligras, Rekortan and Laykold. The Company boasts an extensive list of blue-chip customers across most major professional and collegiate sports leagues. For decades, Sport Group’s fields have been chosen for significant projects across the world including the original Astrodome in 1966, eight sequential Summer Olympic Games, the U.S. Open, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sport Group is an industry leader in green technologies, pioneering sustainable products and services such as the world’s first carbon neutral soccer turf, the world’s first carbon zero field hockey turf and development of the industry’s first, and only, turf recycling facility capable of recycling EPDM rubber. The Company has more than 1,900 employees and operates nine vertically integrated manufacturing facilities and 31 distribution centers across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions.

Raquel Vargas Palmer, Managing Partner of KPS, said, “We are thrilled to acquire Sport Group, a global industry leading provider of artificial surfaces. Sport Group is the only vertically integrated manufacturer of artificial turf and polyurethane artificial surfaces products, with capabilities across the value-chain (design, manufacturing, installation and recycling) and with a manufacturing presence on three continents. We look forward to partnering with Sport Group’s talented employees and senior management team, to build upon this iconic platform. We will leverage KPS’ decades of manufacturing expertise and provide strategic support and capital to accelerate the Company’s value creation opportunities. Sport Group’s unparalleled brand portfolio, commitment to quality and industry leading R&D capabilities provides an ideal foundation for future growth – both organically and through a global acquisition strategy.”

Christoph von Nitzsch, Chief Executive Officer of Sport Group, said, “The Sport Group team is excited to begin this new chapter for the Company. Together with KPS’ tremendous track record of manufacturing excellence and investing in leading branded products in the athletics sector, we are now positioned to take Sport Group to the next level of industry leadership, delivering unparalleled quality, service and innovative products to our customers. Under KPS’ ownership, we will accelerate a range of growth and operational initiatives to build upon our rich history.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to KPS. Houlihan Lokey and William Blair served as financial advisors and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal counsel to Sport Group’s shareholders.

About Sport Group

Sport Group is a leading designer, manufacturer and installer of artificial surfaces serving the global sports flooring, leisure and landscaping and industrial markets to over 70 countries globally. Headquartered in Burgheim, Germany, the Company’s brand portfolio includes AstroTurf (the iconic brand that invented the industry), Polytan, SYNLawn, LigaTurf, Poligras, Rekortan and Laykold. Sport Group is an industry leader in green technologies, pioneering sustainable products and services such as the world’s first carbon neutral soccer turf, the world’s first carbon zero field hockey turf and development of the industry’s first, and only, turf recycling facility capable of recycling EPDM rubber. The Company has more than 1,900 employees and operates nine vertically integrated manufacturing facilities and 31 distribution centers across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions. For additional information, please visit www.sportgroup-holding.com.

About KPS Capital Partners

KPS, through its affiliated management entities, is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of investment funds with approximately $21.6 billion of assets under management (as of March 31, 2024).  For nearly three decades, the Partners of KPS have worked exclusively to realize significant capital appreciation by making controlling equity investments in manufacturing and industrial companies across a diverse array of industries, including basic materials, branded consumer, healthcare and luxury products, automotive parts, capital equipment and general manufacturing.  KPS creates value for its investors by working constructively with talented management teams to make businesses better, and generates investment returns by structurally improving the strategic position, competitiveness and profitability of its portfolio companies, rather than primarily relying on financial leverage. The KPS Funds’ portfolio companies generate aggregate annual revenues of approximately $19.6 billion, operate 223 manufacturing facilities in 26 countries, and have approximately 47,000 employees, directly and through joint ventures worldwide (as of March 31, 2024). The KPS investment strategy and portfolio companies are described in detail at www.kpsfund.com.

KPS Mid-Cap focuses on investments in the lower end of the middle market that require up to $200 million of initial equity capital. KPS Mid-Cap targets the same type of investment opportunities and utilizes the same investment strategy that KPS’ flagship funds have for nearly three decades. KPS Mid-Cap leverages and benefits from KPS’ global platform, reputation, track record, infrastructure, best practices, knowledge and experience. The KPS Mid-Cap investment team is managed by Partners Pierre de Villeméjane and Ryan Harrison, who lead a team of experienced and talented professionals.

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