Finland Group to Buy Wilson

From Reuters

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., one of the best-known names on American playing fields, has agreed to be purchased for $200 million by Finnish business consortium Amer Group Ltd., the companies said in a joint statement Monday.

Amer will buy privately held Wilson from Wesray Capital Corp., a New York investment firm founded by former Treasury Secretary William Simon.

Chicago-based Wilson, which was founded in 1913, makes a range of sporting goods, including tennis, golf, basketball and football equipment, familiar to athletes and schoolchildren across the United States. It also makes sports apparel and athletic shoes.

The purchase would expand Amer's existing presence in the U.S. sporting goods market through its controlling interest in MacGregor Golf Co. In a separate statement from Helsinki, Amer said the combination of MacGregor with Wilson's golf production facilities and retail network would make the group a leader in the golfing market.

Wesray, a pioneer in leveraged buyouts, took Wilson private in 1985 for about $150 million, said Dick Wenz, Wilson's chief financial officer.

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