Did you hear?... KKR acquiring Academy Sports

Private equity firm KKR is taking a majority share in Academy Sports, a top seller of fitness equipment, accessories and apparel.
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It’s a good sign to see Wall Street taking an interest in fitness again.

On June 1, private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. announced plans to acquire Academy Sports + Outdoors (www.academy.com) through the purchase of a majority share of the retailer. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The Katy, Texas-based fitness, outdoor and sporting goods retailer with 131 locations in 11 southeast states recently ranked No. 9 on the latest SNEWS FitBiz Sporting Goods list, an annual report that lists top fitness retailers of the previous calendar year based on store count. And, in 2009, Academy Sports was one of the few fitness retailers to grow significantly despite economic downturn. Since December 2004, it has grown from 80 stores, past FitBiz reports show.

The deal with KKR is intended to continue and accelerate that growth, company officials said. Academy has added three new stores so far this year with another dozen planned by the end of 2011.

The sale, expected to close by mid-July, involves current Academy Sports President Rodney Faldyn keeping his post in addition to being promoted to CEO, replacing David Gochman, whose family founded the business 73 years ago. The Gochmans sold their majority share to KKR, but will retain a minority stake.

Academy Sports employs 16,000 people and recorded revenue of $2.7 million in 2010, up from $2.4 billion in 2009. It sells fitness equipment, accessories and apparel along with sporting goods and outdoor gear.

The retailer has stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

-- David Clucas

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