POC, revolutionary manufacturer of skiing and cycling helmets, gear and accessories has been acquired for $65 million from outdoor equipment maker Black Diamond, Inc by Investcorp.
Investcorp continues its long history of involvement with consumer sporting businesses in Europe, both apparel and gear, with Riva Boats, its first European investment in 1984, followed by Helly Hansen, Dainese, AGV and now POC.
Established in 2004 and headquartered in Sweden, POC’s quest is to provide athletes and consumers with the highest standard of personal protection. POC’s line of products includes helmets, body armor, goggles, eyewear, gloves and other gear, which are currently sold across 27 countries worldwide. Through technical collaboration with partners such as Volvo and Ericsson, POC is pioneering innovative safety concepts.
Stefan Ytterborn, POC’s founder, said: We are delighted to be partnering with Investcorp in the next stage of our development. I am confident that with their support we will continue to grow sales, increase penetration into new markets and drive forward innovation, while not deviating from our ultimate mission of doing the best we can to possibly save lives and reduce consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes and cyclists.
The Company also partners with leading sportsmen and women as it strives to be at the forefront of technical advancements including the American World Cup alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medallist, Julia Mancuso, who has partnered with POC to develop a signature collection.
Collaborations with leading road bike teams, such as Team Cannondale-Garmin and Team Stolting, ensures POC is at the vanguard of developing products famed for safety, comfort and aerodynamics for the rapidly growing road bike market.
This acquisition comes almost a year after Investcorp acquired the specialist gear and protection maker Dainese, the most recognized and respected brand for safety and quality in motorcycle and other dynamic sports markets. There are synergies between the two businesses that will be explored in the future.
Mohammed Al-Shroogi, Investcorp’s Co-CEO, said: POC is one of the fastest growing, dynamic and innovative companies in the sports gear and protection sectors. Its cross generational reach, intrinsic focus on technical innovation and commitment to safety, make it the perfect fit for our portfolio. Leveraging our sector expertise, experience of working with high quality brands and industry connections, we believe Investcorp is well placed to further support POC’s already impressive growth trajectory.
Gattai, Minoli, Agostinelli & Partners served as legal advisor and DC Advisory served as financial advisor to Investcorp.
Who is POC?
POC is a Swedish company that designs protective gear for gravity sports athletes and cyclists. They were founded in 2005, coming out with a range of innovative ski protective gear aimed at reducing damage to the brain and body in case of a crash, gaining a lot of attention in the industry. Later they moved into the cycling market, including making one helmet that I reviewed here – the POC Cortex Flow.
Later, in 2014, POC announced the launch of AVIP – their first specific road bike range. AVIP stands for Attention, Visibility, Interaction and Protection and is POC’s most ambitious initiative to date, promoting safety for road cyclists. To achieve higher levels of performance, and balance the expertise gained from POC Lab in safety and medicine, POC established WATTS Lab. WATTS Lab brings together knowledge from specialists in aerodynamics and is a highly specialized department whose objective is to optimize POC products, allowing the cyclist to go faster, using less energy.
What does this mean for POC and for customers?
Well, aside from Investcorp sounding like a faceless, evil corporation from a dystopian future, this might be good for POC. They were already owned by Black Diamond Inc, so any original integrity hasn’t suddenly been lost by this purchase. They now might be able to have an additional cash injection for new ranges of products, increased engineering development or working out lower end-user prices. In the end, this could mean more gear for us which we can afford!