The Italian investment group, UTurn, has made an investment in the component and bike brand 3T, while the current owners René Wiertz and Gérard Vroomen will remain shareholders and continue to manage the company.
According to Wiertz and Vroomen, the company saw sales of 20 million euros ($21.2 million) last year, with an EBITA of 5 million.
This is the first transaction for UTurn, a “family office” firm that was founded in 2021 by Gianpiero Peron, Luca Mongodi and Alberto Nicoli. The company said the investment will fund international growth and expansion of 3T’s Italian factory.
Mongodi will also become involved in the operational and strategic management of the company.
“While in recent years the most important Italian bicycle brands have been acquired by foreign investors, UTurn ensures 3T remains solidly based in Italy. Together (with) entrepreneurs René Wiertz and Gérard Vroomen, who entered respectively in 2007 and 2015, UTurn aims to make it an even more prestigious brand globally,” UTurn said in a press release Tuesday.
UTurn said it aims to “establish a cluster of companies with high potential, making them grow in international markets as well.”
“This first acquisition of ours fully corresponds with the objectives and philosophy of UTurn Investments. 3T represents what we are looking for, a company that embodies the values of Italian know-how, Made in Italy products and great opportunities to achieve its potential all over the world. We enter 3T with patient capital, we do not opportunistically chase returns on immediate investment, but we aim to support the company on a solid growth path in Italy and abroad,” the firm said.
“We are happy that after an intense process with many interested parties, we have struck deal with UTurn that will help continue 3T’s strong growth and keeps this iconic brand in Italian hands. UTurn shares our vision for 3T and with their capital and management support, we can continue the strong growth of our bike business, which has grown exponentially since 2019. Also, we will be able to accelerate the factory plans,” added Wiertz.
Meanwhile, the Europe-based private equity firm, Telemos Capital, announced it will acquire a majority stake in Vittoria, which will is expected to close early next year.
Telemos Capital will join Vittoria’s senior management team and Wise Equity as investors. Wise Equity purchased the Vittoria Group in 2020.
According to Telemos Capital, Vittoria has “grown substantially, led by group Chairman and CEO Stijn Vriends, who together with the current senior management team will significantly re-invest and is committed to continue to drive Vittoria’s successful The Ride Ahead strategy.”
Telemos said its backing will help Vittoria’s plans for international expansion and develop its products, services, and sales channels. Telemos added Vittoria will continue to invest in sustainability, innovation, and research and development.
“In Vittoria, we are committed to make the most advanced bicycle tires on the planet, to deliver the best riding experiences to cyclists of all kinds,” Vriends said. “The support of Wise Equity has been fantastic over the last years, and we are very pleased that Telemos — with all its relevant experience in growing global brands — is now joining us on the ride.”
Vittoria Industries announced last month it will move its North American headquarters to Bentonville, Arkansas, and in June, tire insert supplier Deaneasy said it will integrate into the Vittoria Group and begin production to develop accessories quicker with research into sustainable materials and processes being a focus.
Other Telemos investments in the consumer sector include Lovehoney Group and Mammut Sports Group, a Swiss outdoor equipment and apparel brand.
In other industry news, Pinarello is rumored to be up for sale. Catterton, the private equity firm that acquired the majority stake in the iconic Italian brand in 2016, is reportedly seeking offers after it almost doubled turnover since the acquisition.
According to a report in the publication, Unquote, advisors Houlihan Lokey will broker the deal that has piqued the interest of Accell – whose brands include Haibike, Winora, Ghost, Batavus, Koga, Lapierre, Raleigh, Sparta, Babboe and Carqon. A consortium led by investment firm KKR bought the majority of shares in Accell in June.
Pinarello has seen annual turnover go from €50 million to €90 million, with 2021-2022 totaling €83.9 million in sales, a 24% increase over the previous year.
Pinarello CEO Antonio Dus attributed the rise in sales as a result of lockdowns during the pandemic, “during the first period of Covid, everyone had feared a slowdown linked to the consumer’s inclination to save money. Instead, there was a greater demand which even pushed existing enthusiasts towards high-end bicycles like ours.”
In September, the private equity firm MiddleGround Capital purchased HLC, who distribute SRAM, Shimano, Garmin, ABUS, RockShox, Kuat, Tacx, and Muc-Off and own Evo, WheelShop, PWR bikes, and Eclypse.
In July, Canyon Bicycles got $30 million in investments from two groups, LRMR Ventures and SC Holdings.
In 2020, Ernesto Colnago sold his vaunted Italian brand to UAE based fund Chimera Investments LLC.
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