FdG Associates has acquired Sneaker Balls, the maker of a shoe deodorizing product, as an add-on acquisition for its portfolio company Implus Footcare. FdG bought Implus in January 2001, and after growing the company for nearly eight years is starting to look at exit options.
Implus originally made only insoles. After FdG recapitalised the company, the private equity firm first diversified FdG’s product line organically, adding shoelaces, shoe care products and performance socks. In the last few years, the firm began to acquire other brands for Implus, including snow and ice traction device maker Yaktrax.
Since 2001, Implus’ earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation and its sales have tripled, said FdG principal Tamara Polewik.
“These days, it’s considered a bit of a longer hold period,” she said. “But I’d say FdG is more of a patient, classic private equity investor.”
Nearly eight years after buying Implus, FdG is getting ready to look at exit options, Polewik said.
FdG recently exited its stake in dental benefits administrator DentaQuest after a five-year holding period. Its long-term strategy paid off: after investing $12 million (€8.5 million) in the company in 2002, FdG sold its stake back to DentaQuest this March to earn an 8 times return.
FdG, which is based in New York, was originally formed as an investment vehicle for the prominent Fisher and de Gunzburg families. The firm has since raised two institutional funds, the latest of which closed on $310 million in June 2005. The firm invests in the business and consumer services, distribution, light manufacturing, retail and consumer products sectors.