Partners Group to invest in Brazilian sports retailer

Partners Group, which opened an office in Brazil in early 2011, aims to benefit from a growing middle class in the Latin American market.

Partners Group has teamed up with local private equity group GP Investments to invest in SBF Group, a Brazilian sporting goods retailer, it said in a statement.

The deal value of the direct investment was $225 million, Partners Group told Private Equity International. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete by the end of the year.

SBF Group manages more than 200 stores in Brazil under the names Centauro, By Tennis, Nike Store and Almax. The founder of the business will keep a majority stake and will continue to serve as the company’s chief executive. 

Partners Group aims to grow the profitability of the business, expand the number of stores and consolidate the market, the firm said. The Brazilian sporting goods retail sector is growing rapidly, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castro, a senior investment manager at Partners Group, said.“It will benefit significantly from upcoming sporting events in the country, such as the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. As Brazil becomes wealthier, more and more people enter the middle class segment, with disposable income and willingness to purchase brands such as Nike and Adidas,” he added.

Partners Group, which has been active in Latin America since 2001, has so far invested $1 billion in the region in private equity, private real estate, private debt and private infrastructure. In December 2010, the firm invested in Casadoce, a Brazilian manufacturer of non-alcoholic beverages and in Technos, a Brazilian wristwatch manufacturer.

In addition, the firm opened an office in Sao Paulo in early 2011. In a statement at the time, the firm called it an “ideal hub to support further investments and the growing number of client relationships in Latin America”.