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K2 Sports Bought By Private Equity Firm Kohlberg & Company

Yuki Kadono flying the flag for Ride Snowboards in China. Photo: Sami Touriniemi

More details have emerged concerning private equity firm Kohlberg & Company’s recent purchase of the K2 Sports group of brands, which includes K2 (obviously) and Ride.

With few exceptions, ownership of the big snowboard brands is a murky world. For all the strong marketing, it’s far more likely than not that a company is part of a bigger network of companies, most of which have nothing to do with winter sports at all. If anyone ever comments how your shred gear is made by “a ski brand”, get them to double check the lineage of their own favourite clobber.

K2 and Ride were bought by consumer goods company the Jarden Corporation in 2007, who in turn merged with Newell last year. This put the two of snowboarding’s longest-serving snowboard brands technically under the same umbrella as Sharpie pens, Baby Jogger strollers and Yankee Candles.

“K2 and Ride’s new owners claim to have expansion on their minds”

K2 has been making snowboards since 1987. Photo: Sami Touriniemi

Concerns arose about how much the new regime would value this small, relatively unprofitable arm of a much bigger business, and getting a definitive answer on the brands’ long-term survival chances has been tricky. Now, though, Newell’s entire Winter Sports portfolio has been snapped up by Kohlberg & Company (which also owns ice hockey brand Bauer), and the new owners claim to have expansion on their minds.

If you can translate the business spiel from Kohlberg’s Joe Lawler, there are potentially reasons to be cheerful for K2 and Ride:

“This lineup of revered consumer brands together with a world-class management team makes our investment an exciting one. The identities and product specifications of the brands will be retained , developed and celebrated in the future as we unlock each brand’s full potential and bring authentic lifestyle experiences to the global outdoor sports enthusiast community.”

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