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Monday, February 26, 2024

They Make Sports Balls—and They Could Be Worth Almost $9 Billion

  • Amer Sports is looking to raise as much as $1.8 billion.
  • Planned IPO is one of the largest of the year so far, across any industry.
USA TODAY Sports

One of the world’s biggest—and yet still relatively unknown—sporting goods companies has filed for an initial public offering in the U.S, looking to raise as much as $1.8 billion. 

The Helsinki-based Amer Sports is anything but a household name, but it owns Wilson Sporting Goods, makers of the official NFL and NBA game balls, as well as tennis rackets for numerous leading pros, including women’s No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka and men’s No. 7 Stefanos Tsitspias. The company’s expansive portfolio also includes the Louisville Slugger, Salomon, and Peak Performance brands, among others. An IPO registration filed Monday details a planned listing of 100 million shares at $16 to $18 each. If the top end of the range is reached, it would imply a valuation of $8.7 billion for Amer Sports. The filing represents one of the first major IPOs of the year across any industry.

“Our vision is to be the global leader in premium sports and outdoor brands,” Amer Sports said in its registration statement. “While our brands have established heritage and market leadership today, significant runway remains ahead.”

The fundraising, however, is happening in what remains a choppy market for sporting goods, footwear, and apparel. Other companies in the category to see various earnings and revenue challenges in recent months include Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, and Puma. The upcoming reporting season for the fourth quarter of 2023 will provide a further look into the current state of the market, including details on performance during the holiday shopping season. 

Amer Sports says it generated $3.1 billion in revenue for the January-September 2023 period, up 30% from the comparable period in 2022. But the company’s net loss grew from $104.4 million to $113.9 million, following on net losses also posted in 2020 and 2021. Amer Sports, however, is leaning heavily into technology for the development of its latest products, including the use of artificial intelligence to design baseball bats with larger sweet spots and a 3D-printed, airless basketball prototype.

Founded in 1950, Amer Sports’ roots lie as a multifaceted conglomerate with prior operations as varied as tobacco and publishing.

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