KPS Capital Partners sold American golf equipment maker Taylormade Golf to South Korea based private equity firm – Centroid Investment Partners for a whopping US$ 1.6bn on May 11, 2021. This deal marks another Asian takeover of an iconic American golf brand. Like TaylorMade Golf, Acushnet, the company that once owned Titleist, sold out in 2011 for US$1.23 billion to Fila Korea Ltd. and financial investors, primarily Korea-based Mirae Asset Private Equity.
Taylormade, established in 1979, makes golf clubs, balls and accessories used by top pros Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, Sierra Brooks and Park Sung-hyun.
Korea happens to be the third-largest golf equipment market, after the U.S. and Japan. The roster of top players from Korea includes several on the Ladies PGA Tour, which is extremely popular in South Korea, the home of Centroid, the company that now owns Taylormade.
In 2017 KPS bought Taylormade from Adidas for US$ 425mn. But during the pandemic, Taylormade benefitted from a boom in golf participation, particularly in the U.S., where demand for new golf equipment and balls spiked as the number of rounds and players saw a significant jump. According to Golf Datatech, retail sales of golf equipment produced US$ 2.81bn in sales 2020, up 10 % from 2019.
“TaylorMade Golf is a transformational investment for Centroid,” Jinhyeok Jeong, founder and CEO of Centroid Investment Partners, said in the media release announcing the sale. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to invest in a global leader in golf. The industry is currently experiencing high demand, increased participation with strong long-term opportunities around the world. TaylorMade is an iconic brand with continued momentum across the key golf equipment categories and regions, especially the Korean and wider Asian markets. We are equally excited to work with (TaylorMade) CEO David Abeles and his exceptional senior management team to support continued growth and success.”