Quietly last week, while Nelly Korda, Mone Inami, Lydia Ko and Aditi Ashok captured the consciousness of the golf world at the Tokyo Olympics, the TaylorMade Golf Company changed hands. A consortium of South Korean interests bought the company for roughly $1.7 billion (U.S).
TaylorMade began an auction in February led by investment bank Morgan Stanley. The seller, KPS Capital Partners, “killed it” in Wall Street vernacular, earning more than four times its investment of $425 million in 2017.
KPS, along with TaylorMade management, executed a remarkable turnaround. The company was put on the sales block in 2016 by then owner Adidas, the sporting goods conglomerate based in Germany that owned the company for 20 years. At the time, TaylorMade was thought to be losing money. And the overall golf economy was not uplifting. Nike, Adidas’ chief competitor in shoes and sports apparel, exited the golf equipment business in 2016, and retailer Golfsmith filed for bankruptcy that same year.
Many of TaylorMade’s wounds were self-inflicted....
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