Industry NewsJuly 10, 2019

Acushnet, Titleist and FootJoy parent, acquires performance ski/golf apparel brand KJUS

Titleist and FootJoy CEO David Maher says the company's purchase of KJUS "provides significant opportunities"

Acushnet, parent company of the Titleist and FootJoy golf brands, announced Wednesday it has acquired KJUS, the Swiss-based global high-performance ski and golf-apparel maker.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

KJUS was founded in 2000 by champion skier Lasse Kjus of Norway and Swiss entrepreneur Didi Serena. The two founded their company one day after a round of golf on the idea of developing performance apparel for skiing, and eventually golf apparel became a part of that. Kjus told Golf News U.K. that the golf business has always been a natural fit for the company that started as a ski apparel business.

“There are a lot of brands in the golf space, but we’ve been uncompromising about our commitment to producing highly technical, performance golf wear,” said Kjus, who twice won the World Cup overall title, an Olympic gold medal and 16 career Olympic and World Championship medals, the second-highest all-time. “We haven’t tried to do mass market. We’ve stayed true to our heritage and our commitment to creating innovative, quality products and that has served us well.”

KJUS ski and golf apparel is sold in nearly 30 countries with a focus on the premium sportswear market. Its polo shirts run in the $90-$130 range, while its Pro 3L 2.0 jacket and pants are in the $400-$500 range. Its ski jackets and pants are in the $600-$650 range. A 2018 company report listed 102 employees, 71 based in Switzerland and 21 in North America.

KJUS is the second high-end company acquired by Acushnet Holdings. The company purchased Links & Kings, the Utah-based luxury leather golf and lifestyle products manufacturer, in January 2018. At the end of 2018, Acushnet showed strong growth in its earnings numbers.

“We have been impressed by KJUS’s success in golf apparel and are extremely excited to bring KJUS into the Acushnet family,” said David Maher, president and chief executive officer, Acushnet Holdings Corp. “We see many similarities in our roots, with both our founders having turned their personal passions for a sport into a vision of product and performance excellence. This shared commitment to innovative, high-quality and performance-driven products lines up squarely with our company’s existing focus on the dedicated golfer. We believe KJUS’s premium positioning in the ski and golf markets provides significant opportunities as we work with current KJUS management to maximize the brand’s potential.”

The Achusnet/Kjus deal marks the second time in the past year that a leading golf company has acquired a company known for its winter outerwear. Last November, Callaway acquired German outerwear maker Jack Wolfskin for $476 million.

Acushnet stock price closed at $26.40, down $0.09 and off its 52-week high of $27.87. In May, the company announced first quarter net sales of $433.7 million, down 1.8 percent year over year. The company expects consolidated net sales on a constant currency basis are expected to be in the range of up 2.8 to 4.7 percent at $1.655 to $1.685 billion. Net sales in 2018 were $1.6337 billion.

According to the announcement, Acushnet expects KJUS’s operations to continue to run from its global and North American headquarters in Hünenberg, Switzerland and Boulder, Colo. The ski and golf divisions will be run by long-time company leaders Nico Serena, son of Didi Serena, and Brooke Mackenzie, respectively. Luke Reese, who has been instrumental in the establishment of the KJUS golf business and was once general manager of Wilson’s golf division, and Didi Serena, will continue their involvement with the company as special advisors.