News: Easton-Bell Sports slims down

The sale of two divisions could leave more room for growth in the bike business

The portfolio of brands under the Easton-Bell Sports umbrella—Giro, Blackburn, Easton Cycling and Bell Helmets—stands to gain additional investments in product and marketing with the company’s now-nearly sole focus on the action sports industry.

Easton-Bell announced on Thursday that it had sold its baseball and softball business for $330 million to Bauer Performance Sports. It is also in negotiations to sell its hockey division.

That leaves only football equipment brand Riddell and the four cycling brands. With fewer brands to worry about, Easton-Bell, which will be renamed BRG Sports moving forward, can devote more resources to strengthen and potentially grow its bike business.

Consumers of Giro, Blackburn, Easton or Bell products won’t notice anything immediately. Product lines are often planned up to two years in advance, especially hardgoods like wheels and helmets, so it could be late 2015 before any product that’s a direct result of this sale would turn up at your local bike shop.

Regardless, a leaner operation allows the company to be more nimble, more innovative, more competitive and quicker to market, all key aspects in keeping brands like Giro and Bell strong.

“It’s no secret that the helmet market is really competitive so we need to invest even more in helmets to make sure we stay on top,” said Mark Riedy, spokesman for Easton-Bell. Investments will also help Giro’s fledgling apparel line, New Road, meet growth targets, Riedy said.

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