Amer Sports has reached an agreement to divest Suunto to Liesheng, a Chinese technology company focusing on the smart and sports wearables electronics segment.
Amer Sports said its strategy is to focus on developing internationally recognized sporting-goods brands within the lifestyle, apparel and footwear segments, shifting more business to DTC (direct-to-consumer) channels and enhancing its presence in large markets such as China and the U.S.
Amer Sports’ other major brands include Salomon, Arc’teryx, Peak Performance, Atomic, and Wilson. Smaller brands include Armada Skis, Enve Composites, DeMarini, Louisville Slugger, and Sports Tracker.
“We see tremendous potential with all of our brands. Suunto, as a manufacturer of world-renowned sports watches, dive computers and precision instruments, is not in the core focus of Amer Sports. After a careful review, we have concluded that an owner such as Liesheng, with its foundation in technology and R&D, is desired to unlock the full potential of Suunto. We believe that this transaction is a good fit for all parties,” said Michael Hauge Sørensen, chief operating officer, Amer Sports.
Founded in Guangdong, China in 2015, Liesheng is a global consumer-electronics company with its products being sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. Amer Sports said it is ranked the top globally in the wireless audio field and has developed the consumer electronics brand Haylou. Liesheng has also continued to explore consumer healthcare, IOT, and big data.
Liesheng obtained the national high-tech enterprise certification in China in 2017. It has an extensive R&D team in which it said some 60 percent of its employees operate. Liesheng’s annual investment in R&D also far exceeds the industry average, said the company.
“The acquisition of Suunto is an important part of our growth strategy, and we see great synergies between the two companies. As a global consumer-electronics company, Liesheng offers Suunto unique technological advantages in product development, centralized sourcing and access to wider international markets, especially in Asia. For Liesheng, Suunto offers access to new markets and product categories, in addition to Suunto’s strong brand heritage,” said Ma Hao, chairman, Liesheng.
Liesheng has indicated that Suunto will continue to run its operations from Vantaa, Finland and Suunto’s brand, products, services, business relations, and employees will remain unchanged after the transaction.
“Suunto has developed into an iconic global brand in outdoor sports and adventure under the ownership of Amer Sports. I’m excited to start the next phase of our journey and join forces with Liesheng. Our operations complement each other well, with no overlapping products and markets. Having a focused and successful wearables-industry player as Suunto’s owner will help power Suunto’s growth and broaden our shoulders in innovating fit-for-purpose products for outdoor adventures,” said Heikki Norta, CEO and brand president, Suunto.
The closing of the transaction is subject to the authority and other required approvals and fulfillment of certain commercial conditions. The parties have agreed not to disclose the transaction details. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022.
Rothschild & Co acted as financial advisor and Avance as legal advisor to Amer Sports.