Lincolnshire nets 2.5 return on sale to Nautic(2)

Lincolnshire Management has sold racquet maker Prince Sports to Nautic Partners, after streamlining the company’s operations and infusing its products with new technology.

New York-based Lincolnshire Management has sold racquet-maker Prince Sports to Providence, Rhode Island-based Nautic Partners for an undisclosed amount, earning a 2.5 times return on its money, according to Lincolnshire president TJ Maloney.

Prince: used by pros

Lincolnshire bought Prince from the Benetton Group in 2003 for €34 million ($46 million) after the Italian clothing maker decided to sell its unsuccessful Benetton Sports System division and its associated brands.

“We wanted to reinvigorate what we viewed as a very good brand that was somewhat neglected,” Maloney said.

Under its ownership, he said, Lincolnshire began shipping products straight from its manufacturers in China to the US, whereas before products came to the US via Europe. The private equity firm also increased Prince’s market share by developing innovative technology, Maloney said. Lincolnshire worked with Prince’s research and development team to design the company’s new “O-Port” technology, which increases the sweet spot and speed of a racquet. “O-Port” technology was a runaway hit, Maloney said, and new generations of racquets that use this technology are currently in the pipeline.

Since 2003, Lincolnshire has increased Prince’s annual revenues from $70 million to $100 million, he said.

“We’ve catapulted the company back up into the preeminent brand that it once was,” Maloney said.

Nautic said in a statement that it will focus on broadening Prince’s global footprint and help the company to become the market leader in the racquet sports industry. 

Goldman Sachs was financial advisor to Lincolnshire, and Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe provided legal advice. GE Antares Capital provided the senior debt financing for the deal.