FdG Associates Announces Sale of Implus Footcare to AEA Investors
May 27, 2008 — NEW YORK – FdG Associates, a leading middle-market private equity firm, announced today it has sold Implus Footcare, LLC, the leader in performance footwear accessories, to New York-based AEA Investors, one of the pioneer firms in the private equity business. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
FdG Associates led the recapitalization of Implus Footcare in January 2001 with the goals of providing liquidity for certain shareholders, supporting the company’s transition to a second generation of management and accelerating its growth.
“We are very proud of our investment in Implus Footcare and think its accomplishments are a wonderful example of the approach we take, and the results we realize, with our portfolio companies and their management teams,” said Doug Dossey, Managing Director at FdG Associates. “We are thrilled with the company Implus has become and all that Implus’ management team, led by Seth Richards and Todd Vore, has achieved in the years we’ve worked with them.”
Over the past seven years, FdG Associates has supported Implus as it improved its organization and infrastructure, increased its product offerings, expanded its retail partnerships and completed and integrated acquisitions. Key to the development of several of its largest retail partnerships has been its innovative approach to category management, as well as its leadership of gender segmentation in the footwear accessory category. Foremost among its acquisitions was its May 2006 transaction with YakTrax®, the leading marketer of snow and ice traction devices. Through these and many other growth initiatives, as well as management’s strong execution of its business plan, Implus has tripled its revenue and profitability since partnering with FdG Associates, in the process returning in excess of 5x the equity invested in the company in 2001.
“We have been very pleased with our partnership with FdG; not only have they been instrumental in helping us attain our growth objectives, but they’ve done it in a very collaborative fashion — focusing on the strategy and key value drivers and allowing me and my team to run the business,” said Seth Richards, Chief Executive Officer of Implus. “FdG’s expertise in supporting the rapid growth of smaller, entrepreneurial companies such as ours was in 2001, along with our passion for the category, proved to be the perfect combination to aid Implus in becoming the clear leader in footwear accessories.”
Having sold its interests in Golf Galaxy, Industrial Controls Distributors and DentaQuest in early 2007, Implus was one of the few remaining portfolio companies in FdG’s highly successful first institutional fund, FdG Capital Partners. Since the beginning of 2007, the firm has made three additional platform investments from its most recent fund, FdG Capital Partners II, all three of which were directly negotiated, non-auction transactions that fit with FdG’s strategy of partnering with owners/operators. FdG Capital Partners II, which closed on $310.5 million in 2005, is now approximately two-thirds invested.
“We believe our strategy of investing alongside entrepreneurs, families and management teams in outstanding middle-market businesses with unrealized growth potential continues to make us an attractive partner not only for companies, but for investors as well,” Dossey added.
Sawaya Segalas & Co., LLC, a leading consumer investment banking firm, served as exclusive financial advisor to Implus Footcare, LLC.
About FdG Associates
FdG Associates is a private investment firm providing equity capital to North American-based middle-market growth companies with sound businesses and unrealized potential. By building a partnership with management and offering creative problem solving and strategic, long-term planning focused around key corporate initiatives, FdG empowers companies to achieve their full growth potential and increase their equity value.
FdG will typically commit from $15 million to $50 million in equity to sponsor management buyouts, recapitalizations and growth-oriented capital investments in private and public companies. The deep and diverse experience of the firm’s executive team enables FdG to pursue opportunities in the business and consumer services, distribution, light manufacturing, retail and consumer products sectors.
FdG is headquartered in New York, NY. For additional information, please visit www.fdgassociates.com.
About Implus Footcare, LLC
Headquartered in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, Implus is an innovative leader in the $1 billion footwear accessory marketplace (including insoles, traction devices, shoe care products, shoe laces and socks). Implus’ consumer segmented brands include Sof Sole®, Airplus®, Sof Comfort® Yaktrax® and apara™, compete in practically every “below the ankle” channel and category and are distributed in over 50,000 retail outlets across North America and in 65 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit www.implus.com or call (800) 446-7587.