Sun Mountain acquired by Solace Capital Partners | Golf equipment: clubs, balls, bags
Sun Mountain, an industry leader in golf bags, push carts and outdoor apparel for approximately 40 years, has been acquired by Solace Capital Partners. According to Solace’s website, the private equity firm is focused on “providing equity and debt to lower-middle-market U.S. and Canadian companies facing complex situations.” The firm seeks to invest between $20 million and $100 million per transaction in businesses generating between $50 billion and $1 billion in revenue.
According to a press release announcing the acquisition, Sun Mountain will retain its headquarters in Missoula, Montana, and continue to be led by its current management team, including Ed Kowachek, president of the company for more than 20 years, who will assume the role of CEO. . Company founder Rick Reimers will retain ownership of Sun Mountain Motor Sports, which produces electric golf carts under the Finn Scooters brand. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
As for why now, Reimers was his usual direct self. “I think 41 is enough to do a certain thing,” he told Golf Digest on Monday. “I never had associates, investors, advisers or a board of directors. After a long time, you get a little fed up. As this process took on a life of its own, I couldn’t think of a good reason not to sell.
“In 41 years, the company has become a little defensive,” continued Reimers. “Competitors are catching up and you have to keep reinventing the same thing over and over again. It becomes less entrepreneurial and less creative work and there is a huge difference between defense work and creative work. When you’re working on something new and creative, there’s no defense because it doesn’t exist. That’s what attracts me. »
Founded in 1981, Sun Mountain, under Reimers’ leadership and vision, has produced several innovations in golf bags, push carts and outdoor apparel. The company developed the first lightweight golf bag and the first modern stand bag, and was the first to offer golf-specific performance outerwear and rainwear. Sun Mountain was also credited with inventing the three-wheeled golf cart, and its ClubGlider brought innovation to the travel bag market. And for the handle at the top of a golf bag that every golfer grabs when setting down their stand bag, Sun Mountain was also the first to do so.
“Sun Mountain is widely recognized as the benchmark for golf bags, push carts and outdoor apparel due to its superior product quality and commitment to innovation,” said Brett Wyard, managing partner of Solace, which was founded in 2013 and is based in Los Angeles. “Under Rick’s leadership, the company has built an excellent reputation for excellence, and we see exciting opportunities to grow the business and bring its wide range of products to as many golfers as possible.”
Going forward, Kowachek aims to keep this mantra in mind and build on it. “Our mission will always be to create original, world-class golf products that enhance our customers’ experience and performance on and off the course,” he said. “We are thrilled to partner with Solace, which has substantial financial resources and operational expertise, to execute our mission on an even greater scale. I have been incredibly fortunate to work with Rick and learn from him at over the years and will strive to carry on the legacy of a man who has done so much to improve the sport of golf.
Part of that legacy is keeping the business in Montana. In fact, failing to do so could have turned out to be a dealbreaker for Reimers.
“It was really crucial. It was important to me,” Reimers said. “I pretty much threatened to walk a few times when it wasn’t obvious to me that they were going to keep him here. Luckily we were able to sort all that out and a number of other things that were important. It really wasn’t a problem. The folks at Solace are great people. But in a negotiation things have to be worked out and it is always better to do these things in advance rather than later.
As for Reimers, with Sun Mountain’s future secured and off his plate, he’s eager to get back to what interests him most. “As a designer, what I consider above all to be, it’s much more exciting to work on something new and I have a lot of new things to work on. Finn Scooters and a few product variations I’m excited about. I’d like to see if I can change the game one more time.
“I left South Dakota in 1973 with $5,000 and part of it from muskrat trapping. Considering what happened with the sale of the company, it is impossible to imagine a better outcome.