Compass Diversified Holding (Codi), a listed U.S. investment fund, bought a large majority stake in Camelbak Products at a price of $257.5 million last month. Based in California, with its European head office located in Italy, the hydration packs brand was previously owned by Irving Place Capital, another American investment fund.
Massimo Fregonese, Camelbak's director of international sales and marketing, indicated that the takeover should entail heightened investment in the hydration brand, but should not lead to any significant changes in the company's strategy.
Camelbak, which was launched by a cycling racer in 1989 and invented the hands-free hydration category, reported a turnover of $122.2 million last year with sales in more than 50 countries. Fregonese said the company was ahead of its double-digit growth target for this year.
The deal fits with Codi's strategy of focusing on medium-sized companies that are market leaders in specialist categories. Codi said the buying price was based on a total enterprise value of $245.0 million and included $12.5 million of cash and working capital adjustments. The price represents about two times Camelbak's sales or just over eight times its Ebitda.
It was formally carried out through Camelbak Acquisition Corporation, in which Codi has an initial stake of 89.9 percent. The construction enables Codi to amortize a substantial portion of the purchase price for tax purposes. Apart from its equity investment in Camelbak Acquisition Corp., Codi provided loans amounting to $145.2 million to Camelbak as part of the transaction.
Codi has a flurry of holdings in companies unrelated to the sports business. It has only one other investment in the cycling market, Fox Racing Shox, a suspension company in which Codi acquired a majority stake in 2008. However, Camelbak said that it would remain an independent entity, and its structure and management would remain unchanged.