Maxfli moving to TaylorMade-Adidas Golf’s headquarters

Maxfli’s marketing and administrative operations are moving to TaylorMade-Adidas Golf’s headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. – a clear signal that TMAG is preparing to exercise its option to acquire the ball and club franchise.

At the beginning of the year, TaylorMade entered into a complex licensing deal with Maxfli’s parent, Dunlop Slazenger Group Ltd., giving TMAG virtual worldwide control of Maxfli and its sister brand, Slazenger. Most notably, the move instantly gave TaylorMade sizable marketshare in the ball category, the one area it lacked a major presence.

However, the arrangement minimized risks for one of the industry’s leading players because it didn’t require an immediate financial investment in Maxfli – a brand with considerable equity but one that steadily had been losing market share.

The deal provided a 15-month “trial period” for the two parties, allowing TMAG to walk out if the union didn’t progress as expected.

It also included an option for TMAG to make an outright acquisition of Slazenger and Maxfli, which would give it permanent access to DSG’s valuable ball patent portfolio.

Six months into the deal, it appears TMAG is ready to make a more serious commitment.

“We still have nine months to go, but I think this is a pretty good indication that we’re happy with the business and that we’re moving closer to exercising the option,” said Jim Stutts, TMAG’s chief executive officer. He said Maxfli’s sliding marketshare had “bottomed out,” adding the brand had recently rebounded, claiming the No. 2 position in unit marketshare in premium balls in the on-course channel.

The relocation, expected to be completed by late September, involves moving only Maxfli’s business operations – including finance, customer service, administration and marketing – from Greenville, S.C., to Carlsbad, Stutts said. It does not affect Slazenger apparel, and all ball manufacturing will continue at DSG’s plants in Westminster, S.C.

Though many of the approximately 50 Greenville-based employees will make the move west, some are expected to leave the company and remain in South Carolina for personal reasons, and other positions will be eliminated, Stutts said. It has not yet been determined how many jobs will be trimmed, he said.

“There will be some consolidation,” Stutts said. “That’s being driven by the fact that there are a lot of synergies that can exist if you absorb the backroom functions of an $80 (million) to $100 million business (Maxfli and Slazenger combined) into an existing $550 million business.

“It’s our plan then to reinvest into R&D and marketing to support the brand.”

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