MacGregor Golf’s 112-year run as an independent equipment brand came to end May 20 as it announced its sale to Austin, Texas-based retailer Golfsmith International.
Negotiations for the acquisition began in January and culminated with Golfsmith gaining intellectual property rights to the MacGregor brand throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand and Africa, according to Greg Norman, who held a minority stake in the company and had served as its chairman.
Golfsmith obtained an “exclusive perpetual license” of the MacGregor trademarks by agreeing to pay $1.75 million over three years, according to Golfsmith’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The retailer takes ownership when the payments are completed.
With the sale, Norman told Golfweek May 20 that he is fully divested from MacGregor and stepping away from the golf equipment business – with the exception of serving as an endorser for TaylorMade Golf.
“I’m out of hard goods for the conceivable future,” Norman said. “The golf equipment industry is not conducive for mid-tier brands.”
But Golfsmith is banking on the fact that MacGregor still has life as a proprietary “house” brand for its retail chain, Internet site and catalog business.
In a statement announcing the acquisition, Martin Hanaka, chairman and CEO of Golfsmith, said: “Adding MacGregor to our mix of great brands broadens our appeal to a larger golfing audience and no doubt allows us to compete more effectively in the golf specialty retail landscape.”
The fate of MacGregor had been the subject of industry speculation for much of the year. Questions intensified as early as January when MacGregor made an 11th-hour withdrawal from the PGA Merchandise Show and offered no new products for the coming season.
There were other signs that MacGregor wouldn’t continue as an independent entity: It had sold its Asian subsidiary and liquidated inventory in recent months. Norman’s three-year deal, announced in March, that made him a member of the TaylorMade tour staff was particularly telling.
– Golfweek senior writer Alex Miceli contributed to this report.