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Acushnet sold to Fila Korea, private equity firm

After nearly six months of speculation, Fortune Brands has signed an agreement to sell its Acushnet business, comprised of the Titleist, FootJoy and Pinnacle brands, to Fila Korea Ltd. and Mirae Asset Private Equity, the largest private equity firm in Korea. The sale remains subject to closing conditions, including the usual regulatory approvals, and is expected to close this summer. The price, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, is $1.225 billion.

It is expected that after the acquisition, Acushnet will remain as a standalone company with its worldwide headquarters remaining in Fairhaven, Mass. The current management team, including chairman and CEO Wally Uihlein, will remain in place.

"The Fila Korea and Mirae group understands and appreciates our golf industry leadership, passionate associates, and unique and enduring culture," said Uihlein. "Together, with our new owners, our team is looking forward to strengthening and building upon the global success of the Titleist and FootJoy brands."

Fila Korea has more than 500 total points of distribution including 300 franchise stores and ranks as one of the top sportswear brands in Korea, while Mirae listed more than $133 billion in assets in 2008.

"The acquisition of Acushnet transforms our platform with a stable of premier world class brands," said Gene Yoon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Fila Korea, Ltd. "We are equally excited to embrace Acushnet's exceptional management team led by Wally Uihlein. With our extensive knowledge and reach in Asia, we believe that the Acushnet brands have incredible new opportunities for growth in the emerging markets in Asia."

--E. Michael Johnson**Follow on Twitter @EMichaelGW