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When NEP was doing its final reference checks before hiring Armand as CEO, one call was made to private equity veteran Bob Bergmann, whose firm had invested in Bravo Sports. Bergmann was now a managing partner of Bregal Partners, with a $500 million capital commitment from a European family foundation. And here was a company for sale that he knew, run by a CEO he knew and respected.
Shock Doctor also fit well into one of the investment “themes” that guides decisions at Bregal: the idea of making good returns by investing in businesses at the intersection of consumer choices and health care.
There was a time when almost all sports equipment was picked by the team or the league or by a school athletic director, but it’s increasingly left now to the parents and participants. And with sports injury and health concerns increasing, so, too, are the dollars spent by parents and athletes.
The markets that Shock Doctor currently targets are “growing at 8 or 9 percent per year,” Bergmann said. With continued new product introductions, expanded distribution outside the United States and acquisitions, he would expect the top-line growth to handily exceed the market’s growth rate.
His optimistic view is shared by each of the previous owners, too, for even though Jeff Turner has been on the sidelines for six years, he continues to follow the fortunes of Shock Doctor.
“It’s been interesting to watch Under Armour over the past decade,” Turner said, as the sports apparel company’s top line has increased more than tenfold to more than $2.3 billion. “Shock Doctor has the potential to be that kind of a story.”
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