Wilson tennis racket maker Amer Sports files for US IPO

Jan 4, 2024

By Manya Saini

(Reuters) -Wilson tennis racket maker Amer Sports on Thursday revealed a 30% revenue surge for the first nine months of 2023 in its filing to go public in the U.S., joining other high-profile firms looking to take advantage of recovering investor appetite.

U.S. initial public offerings, which went through an arid period that lasted most of 2022 and 2023, are projected to rebound as the stock market hovers near record highs.

“We expect 2024 will look like a ‘normal year’, but after 2022 and 2023, normal might feel like a flood of IPOs,” said Matthew Kennedy, senior strategist at IPO-research firm Renaissance Capital.

Social media firm Reddit, cloud security company Rubrik and software startup ServiceTitan are also expected to go public in 2024 as fears of an economic downturn wane and investor sentiment recovers.

ICONIC SPORTING BRANDS

Founded in 1950, Amer Sports operates in three segments and is home to iconic sports and outdoor brands including Arc’teryx, Salomon, Atomic and Peak Performance.

Its world renowned Wilson brand is associated with several legendary athletes including Roger Federer, Russell Wilson and Jamal Murray. The Wilson tennis racket has been used by 643 Grand Slam title winners.

“It skirts a dual role between luxury and high-end sports brands that investors may find appealing, especially as people continue to crave and spend on experiential trips and vacations,” said Michael Ashley Schulman, Chief Investment Officer at Running Point Capital Advisors.

“Investors may see Amer sports as an alternative or diversifier to brands like Nike and Adidas,” Schulman added.

Wilson is also the official partner for a number of professional sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association and National Football League as well as the U.S. Open and Roland-Garros Grand Slam Tennis Championships.

Amer Sports’ revenue was $3.05 billion in the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with $2.35 billion a year earlier. Adjusted EBITDA, or core earnings, surged to $422.1 million versus $261.8 million.

“It looks like the company had a terrific 2023, in terms of both growth and EBITDA profitability. The enormous debt level is a turn off, but the IPO will help in that regard,” Kennedy added.

Founded in Finland, Amer went private in 2019, after a consortium led by China’s Anta Sports acquired it in a deal that valued it at more than $5 billion.

The Salomon ski boots maker did not reveal the price and size of its offering. Amer’s shareholders include Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings and private-equity firm FountainVest.

The billionaire founder of yoga-inspired athletic apparel company Lululemon Athletica, Dennis “Chip” Wilson, has been nominated to sit on its board in connection with the IPO, a filing showed.

Another supplier of major U.S. sports league headware New Era Cap LLC has also kicked off preparations for an IPO in New York that could value it at $4 billion to $5 billion, Reuters reported in September.

It is looking to list on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the ticker symbol “AS”. Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and UBS Investment Bank are the lead underwriters for the offering.

(Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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