Europe’s Largest Private Tackle Company Bought by US Based Lew’s
Fox International (“Fox”), Europe’s largest privately-owned fishing tackle company, today announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Lew’s Holdings Corporation (“Lew’s”), a leader in the U.S. fishing equipment market, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
This transaction represents a key step towards Lew’s goals of accelerating growth, further enhancing its product innovation and branded fishing equipment offerings and executing bolt-on acquisitions. Lew’s has grown into a leading fishing equipment and outdoor consumer brand along with the acquisitions of several iconic founder- and family-owned businesses, including Strike King and Hunters Specialties.
This combination will enable an enhanced route to market for both businesses. This will be driven by an expanded geographical footprint, deeper innovation, R&D sharing capabilities, access to new skills and an enlarged talent pool. As part of the acquisition, both businesses will maintain their current management structures and brand identities, as the enlarged business leverages the complementary brand and geographic strengths of both Lew’s and Fox.
Mayfair Equity Partners (“Mayfair”), the buyout and growth investor, backed a management buyout of Fox in 2015 from Next Wave Partners (“Next Wave”). Next Wave retained a significant minority shareholding alongside Mayfair following the buyout. Both Mayfair and Next Wave are fully divesting their stakes, and Lew’s will acquire the business.
Fox has undergone a significant period of growth and development following Mayfair’s investment in 2015. The business, based in Brentwood, Essex, has grown by focusing on its core strength: producing and distributing an innovative range of products that are developed by anglers, for anglers. The business has continued to invest in Western European markets while entering into new markets in the US and especially Eastern Europe, where demand continues to grow for high quality brands. Fox is now present in over 30 countries and currently sells a diverse range of products across the Carp, Predator and Match Fishing categories. In supporting its geographic expansion and product diversification, Fox’s marketing division has been transformed, receiving significant investment to grow the team and its digital capabilities. This growth has also been supported by the successful integration of two international acquisitions, lure brand Salmo and bait dispenser Spomb.
Fishing is one of the most popular sports across the globe driven by strong consumer demand in the US and Europe and the US Outdoor Foundation reports that sports fishing represents one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the U.S. with an estimated 49 million participants.
The Fox shareholders were advised by William Blair (exclusive financial advisors) and Linklaters (legal advisers).