The courtship is at an end, people.
Fortune Brands has agreed to sell its golf business, which includes Titleist and FootJoy, to a group led by the owner of the Fila sports brand for $1.23 billion in cash, according to Reuters. The sale is the first big play toward the planned breakup of Fortune to become solely an alcoholic drinks company.
Reuters reported last week that sources say the Blackstone Group and Callaway Golf are teaming up to place a bid on Fortune’s golf business, Acushnet (better known as Titleist and Footjoy), in a deal worth up to $1 billion.
Fortune Brands Inc. plans to split into three companies, hanging onto its liquor business led by Jim Beam bourbon while getting rid of the units that produce Titleist golf equipment (and FootJoy apparel), Moen faucets and Master Locks.
On Wednesday the company announced it will sell or spin off its golf and home and security businesses, and concentrate on the booze industry, which generates $2.5 billion annually. Well, duh. When the economy is good, people drink happily. And when the economy sucks, people drown their sorrows with the bottle.
On Wednesday TaylorMade-adidas Golf officially declared it was signing Camilo Villegas to a club, ball, headwear, footwear, glove and bag deal. Villegas is under contract with Cobra and Titleist through 2010. It appears that reps across the board are rather confused by the timing of TMaG’s announcement.
No one seems to recall any brand issuing a press release about a player signing the following year while the current season is still in progress. Does TMaG perceive the much smaller Cobra, which merged with apparel company PUMA earlier this year, as a threat?