By Don Southerton, KoreaLegal.org Editor
Many in the golf industry were surprised to hear of a bold Korean buyout of Titleist. Widespread media coverage has noted details of the $1.2 billion M&A. That said, for those familiar with Korea it comes as little surprise, Korea has an economy that’s robust, lots of its global firms doing well, groups ready to invest in the future, and a strong interest in golf.
US legal firms also see lots of new opportunity in Korea, and are shifting teams to focus on Korea-facing business.
This AM Law Daily article (one of many) not only shares details on the M&A, but showcases the Korea-facing roles of law firms’ Chadbourne & Parke along with McDermott Will & Emery. This is a trend that will grow. I hope all involved recognize that cross-cultural issues will surface, which will need to be addressed through coaching and training.
Chadbourne, McDermott Tee Up $1.2 Billion Golf Equipment Deal
Fortune Brands announced Friday that it will sell its golf equipment business to a group led by Fila Korea and Korean private equity firm Mirae Asset Private Equity for $1.2 billion.
Fortune’s golf equipment business, Acushnet owns Titleist–a golf ball and club maker–and FootJoy–a shoe and glove brand. Fortune expects to net $1.1 billion in proceeds when the deal closes this summer.
Fila Korea, a sport and leisure footwear and apparel brand established in Italy in 1911, won a competitive auction for Acushnet that opened in February and closed in early May. The auction of the golf unit followed an announcement Fortune made in December to focus solely on its spirits business. Fortune also plans to spin-off its home security business, according to the statement announcing the deal.
For the sale, Fortune turned to a team from Chadbourne & Parke led by partners Edward Smith, Charles Hord, Scott Berson, and William Cavanagh. Fortune general counsel Mark Roche and Joe Nauman, executive vice president of corporate and legal at Acushnet, were also involved in the sale.
Fila Korea and Mirae turned to McDermott Will & Emery and partners David Goldman, Paul Kim, Matt Rizzo, and Tom Conaghan. The firm has represented Fila Korea since 2006. Fila executive vice president of business operations Jennifer Estabrook also was involved in the acquisition.
The golf business made up nearly a fifth of Fortune’s total revenue,according to The New York Times, with half of its $1.2 billion in net sales coming from markets outside the United States.
Following the split-up of Fortune’s portfolio, it will become a liquor company, owning brands such as Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl margaritas, which Fortune acquired inMarch through its Beam Global Spirits & Wine unit.