Gilbert Global to buy golf shaft maker

Cornerstone Equity Investors divests PGA favourite True Temper to New York-based buyout house Gilbert Global Equity Partners.

New York-based private equity firm Gilbert Global Equity Partners has agreed to buy True Temper Sports from Cornerstone Equity Investors, another New York-based buyout operation.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, according to a press statement. The transaction is expected to close sometime in the next three months. True Temper management is also participating in the purchase.

True Temper manufactures golf shafts of steel, graphite and composite materials for drivers, irons and putters. According to the statement, True Temper’s shafts are the most-used shafts on the PGA Tour and on all professional golf tours globally. The Memphis, Tennessee-based company employs 800 people worldwide and operates 10 facilities located in the US, Europe, Japan, China and Australia. True Temper also produces sports products for the bicycle, hockey and sporting goods industry.

“We are very excited about partnering with True Temper’s management team and continuing the growth of one of the world’s most recognized and leading sporting goods brand,” Steven Gilbert, chairman of Gilbert Global, said in the statement.

Gilbert Global Equity Partners operates with a capital base of more than $1 billion, and makes investments that range between $20 million and $150 million. Last March, Gilbert teamed with global insurance private equity firm Securitas Capital, affiliated with Swiss Re, and New York-based private equity firm The Cypress Group to acquire certain parts of Kemper Insurance Co. Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, the acquired divisions had generated $1 billion in gross premiums in 2002.

Cornerstone Equity Investors was founded in 1984 as Prudential Venture Capital Management and changed its name in 1996. The firm manages approximately $1.2 billion and makes investments of between $10 million and $50 million in technology, healthcare and business services companies. In June 2002, Cornerstone acquired business communications company Vestcom in a privatization worth approximately $75 million.