Ariat International, Inc., a rapidly growing active outdoor footwear and apparel company with a leading position in the global equestrian market, today announced that an agreement has been reached regarding the sale of the Company by a group of shareholders led by LNK Partners and Brentwood Associates to an existing shareholder, the Fisher family of San Francisco, and the Company’s management. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Beth Cross, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Ariat, said, “We are thrilled to be expanding our partnership with the Fisher family, who share our passion for the Company and the Ariat brand. Their deep experience as business leaders will provide a strong strategic foundation for the Company’s long term growth opportunities.”
"For almost 20 years, we have been partners with Beth and her management team as they built Ariat into a world-class company and brand,” said John Fisher, who will serve on the Ariat Board. “We are excited to continue that partnership and support the next phase of Ariat’s global growth plans."
Ariat has grown rapidly since its inception by leading the industry in continuous product innovation, and delivering high-quality products with differentiated performance characteristics. The company has diversified successfully from its base in Western and English boots into related footwear, extended its brand into denim, apparel, and accessories, and expanded its business into key international markets. Building on its market leadership in the United States, Ariat has also established itself as the fastest-growingequestrian brand in Europe, the UK and Australia.
LNK Partners, a private equity firm focused on the consumer/retail sector, and Brentwood Associates, a Los Angeles-based private equity investment firm, first partnered with management with an investment in the Company in November 2006.
“LNK and Brentwood have been extraordinary partners to Ariat at an important stage of our growth,” states Cross. “I am proud of our work together in building the Ariat brand into a premier active outdoor brand while maintaining our unique, highly entrepreneurial culture.”
Ariat was advised by Peter J. Solomon Company and Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
About LNK Partners
LNK Partners is a private equity firm focused on backing strong management teams who arebuilding outstanding consumer and retail businesses. LNK’s current portfolio includes its investment in PVH's (NYSE: PVH) acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger, Au Bon Pain, and Natural Food Holdings (Niman Ranch).
About Brentwood Associates
Brentwood Associates is a consumer-focused private equity firm with a thirty-year history of investing in middle-market growth companies. Brentwood focuses oninvestments in consumer products/services, direct marketing, education, restaurants and specialty retail.
About Ariat International, Inc.
Ariat International, Inc. is a leading designer and manufacturer of performance equestrian footwear, apparel and accessories. In 1993, Ariat introduced innovative, athletic shoe technology in Western and English riding boots and completely changed the dynamic of the industry. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail specialty stores throughout the world.
Ariat is one of equestrian sports’ strongest corporate supporters, with sponsorship or participation in more than 10,000 local, regional, national and international events in a variety of Western and English disciplines. Ariat is the official sponsor of the nationally televised Professional Bull Riding Series (PBR), the National High School Rodeo Association and the United States Equestrian Federation. For more information about Ariat, please visit www.ariat.com.
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