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Riddell Enters Partnership with BC Partners Credit, Acquires Simbex

Featured , Corporate • April 3, 2024

NEW YORK, NEW YORK and DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS (April 3, 2024) – BC Partners Credit, the credit arm of BC Partners, and Riddell announced a strategic partnership that they believe will further advance Riddell’s central role in the game of football into the future.  

Founded in 1929 and based in Des Plaines, Illinois, Riddell serves the football equipment market and sports community as a designer and manufacturer of football helmets, protective sports equipment, head impact sensing and reporting technologies and related apparel and accessories. Riddell also serves as the exclusive licensee of the NFL for collectible helmets and maintains promotional rights with the League as an authorized supplier of helmets worn by more than 77% of NFL players. Riddell is deeply involved in football with key touchpoints at the grassroots level as representatives are strategically based in local communities to address customer needs and provide support.  

“Riddell’s historically strong growth and financial performance have only improved in recent years, driven by the Company’s robust head protection and technologies roadmap, increased market share and positive football participation trends,” according to the news release.

BC Partners’ $400 million investment in Riddell, which includes convertible preferred equity and debt, will empower Riddell to accelerate innovation and make compelling investments in the business for the benefit of all stakeholders. BC Partners will join Riddell’s Board, working closely with Riddell’s management team and committed investors, including majority investor Fenway Partners, who have been pivotal to Riddell’s longstanding success. Riddell will refinance certain existing debt and provide a dividend to current investors as part of the transaction.

“From its market leadership, attractive financial profile, and differentiated portfolio, Riddell has demonstrated it is built for sustained success,” said Ted Goldthorpe, Head of BC Partners Credit. “We are pleased to have structured an investment that is customized for Riddell, as the Company embarks on an exciting growth trajectory, with increased investments in research and product development, strategic partnerships and a best-in-class distribution platform. Dan and the entire Riddell team are exceptional and we are excited to partner with them.”

Dan Arment, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Riddell, said, “Riddell proudly welcomes BC Partners as advisors and investors in our business. We clearly maintain a shared vision for maximizing Riddell’s role in the rapidly evolving products and services landscape within football and sports. This alignment will ultimately strengthen Riddell’s service to our customers, drive increased financial performance, and deliver value for our investors, including BC Partners and Fenway Partners.”

Said Fenway Partners Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Peter Lamm, “We welcome BC Partners to the Riddell team and look forward to working with them to drive continued innovation and growth. With the best management team in the industry, Riddell is well-positioned to deliver outstanding performance for athletes and value for all of its investors.”

Three Ocean Partners served as the sole financial advisor to BC Partners Credit on both the preferred and debt financing, and King & Spalding LLP acted as legal advisor. UBS Investment Bank and Baird served as financial advisors to Riddell, and Lowenstein Sandler LLP acted as the legal advisor to the Company in connection with the transaction.

Riddell Acquires Simbex

Riddell also announced the strategic acquisition of longtime partner Simbex. With the addition of Simbex’ engineering and health science product development expertise, Riddell will further elevate its position at the forefront of sports technology.

Simbex is a premier product design and development firm with over 20 years of experience in the sports, medical and health technology markets. The Simbex portfolio of products and history of exceptional innovation will advance Riddell’s smart helmet and associated technology roadmap. Notably, Simbex was an essential partner in the creation of Riddell’s InSite impact response system and the recently launched InSite Analytics platform, with the team continuing to provide support for these technologies.

“Simbex has been a valuable and trusted partner in the development of integrated smart helmet technologies designed to improve athlete monitoring, performance, and industry research, presenting more opportunities to accelerate the use of these systems within football and across sports,” said Thad Ide, Riddell’s Executive Vice President of Research & Product Development. “This acquisition cements an already strong partnership and underscores our commitment to leveraging Simbex’ broad capabilities and expertise in pursuit of next-generation head protection platforms.”

Beyond its work with Riddell, Simbex will remain a trusted leader in developing and commercializing transformative sports, medical and health technology.

Greg Lange, Chief Executive Officer of Simbex, added, “We are excited to be part of a world-class organization at the forefront of their industry. The acquisition by Riddell will strengthen our ability to deliver transformative technology while upholding our core values as a premier consulting firm. This partnership underscores our mutual dedication to advancing health, protection, and performance through cutting-edge product design, development, and commercialization strategy.”


BC Partners Credit Fenway Partners Ted Goldthorpe Peter Lamm Thad Ide Simbex Riddell Dan Arment NFL Equipment Helmets Football Sporting Goods