Wilson Sporting Goods, a division of Amer Sports, has acquired the Louisville Slugger brand from Hillerich & Bradsby, bringing the Official Glove of Major League Baseball and the Official Bat of Major League Baseball together under one roof.
Wilson will market and sell Louisville Slugger-branded products through its baseball and softball business unit as a standalone line, separate from Wilson Sporting Goods' Wilson, DeMarini and ATEC brands.
Under the agreement, H&B will become Wilson's exclusive manufacturing partner for wood bats, continuing to manufacture all Louisville Slugger-branded MLB, Minor League Baseball, amateur player and souvenir wood bats.
"The decision to sell the Louisville Slugger brand was a difficult and serious one to make. The Hillerich family, and those closest to the brand, firmly believes that a new business model is necessary to realize the enormous potential of this brand in the future," says John A. Hillerich IV, chief executive officer, H&B. "We recognized from our first conversation with Wilson that they would be a great partner and steward of the brand our family created and so many have nurtured for 131 years."
H&B will maintain ownership of and continue to operate the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and gift shop in Louisville, Ky., as well as its Bionic Gloves division and Powerbilt golf brand.
Wilson plans to grow the Louisville Slugger brand domestically and abroad and accelerate new research and technology initiatives to create products for both professional and amateur baseball players.
"We are excited to welcome Louisville Slugger into the Wilson family," says Mike Dowse, president, Wilson Sporting Goods. "Growing our baseball and softball business globally is a key business strategy, and H&B has created one of the most recognizable baseball brands in the world. We believe Louisville Slugger will enrich our company significantly, enhance our baseball and softball product offering at all levels of the game, and ensure we are delivering only the best performance products to athletes of every age."