Madshus Awaits Its Fate

The Madshus’ fate is about to be decided.

According to SGB Media, a social media marketing firm, Michael Polk, CEO of Newell Brands, said this week that “…Negotiations around the sale of the Winter Sports unit are in full flight and are expected to close in the second quarter…”

You want to know the connection? Well, let’s see.

Back in 1988, a legacy Norwegian ski producer was bought by K2 Sports Inc. from Seattle, best known for its eponymous Alpine ski.

Then, in 2007, K2 itself was bought by Jarden Corp.., owned and run by Martin Franklin, a British investor and triathlete.

Finally, last year Jarden was swallowed whole by an even bigger corporate fish, Newell Brands Inc., whose boss, Mr. Polk, had immediately announced his intention to sell off the the Winter Sports unit that is now comprised of K2, Marker, Volkl, Full Tilt, Line – and Madshus.

Whether Newell is looking to sell the companies as a single unit or piece-meal is not known. But we won’t be left guessing for long.

The last season was very good for Madshus from a sporting perspective, especially in women’s skiing – the top three finishers in the FIS World Cup – Heidi Weng, Krista Parmakoski and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg – were all “Madshus skiers”. The Norwegian producer also supplies skis to Alexander Bessmertnykh, Noah Hoffman and Ida Sargent, among the others.

We predict that Madshus will be separated from the rest of K2 Sports and bought by some local, Norwegian company. Despite its US owners, Madshus has always remained an essentially Scandinavian company with production in Biri, just south of Lillehammer.

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The Norwegians like to keep their winter sport goods’ producers, you know, Norwegian.
Swix, Active Brands (owner of Daehlie and Johaug, among others) and Rottefella are all in the local hands – the first two are owned by large investment funds (Ferd and FSN Capital, respectively) – while Rottefella remains in private hands. All three are profitable, although Rottefella’s future is somewhat uncertain after the loss of Fischer Sports and Rossignol as ski bindings customers (there’s a gain, however, of the old bindings’ rival, Salomon/Atomic.)

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