Fortune Brands to Sell or Spin Off Acushnet Company

Posted: December 8, 2010

Acushnet Company Press Release (.pdf)
Fortune Brands Press Release (.pdf)

Fairhaven, MA, December 8, 2010 – Acushnet Company today announced that the Board of Directors of its parent company, Fortune Brands, has approved in principle a separation of Fortune Brand’s three businesses in order to maximize long-term value for shareholders. This plan would result in: the continuation of Fortune Brands as an independent, publicly-traded spirits company; the tax-free spin-off to shareholders of the home and security business into an independent, publicly-traded company; and the sale or tax-free spinoff of the Acushnet Company.

The Acushnet Company is the longest running and strongest golf industry success story, and has been very successful as part of the Fortune Brands family. Acushnet is currently the largest and most profitable golf equipment company in the world. With annual sales of $1.2 billion, Acushnet Company includes Titleist, the #1 ball in golf, and FootJoy, the #1 shoe and glove in golf. Titleist is also a leader in high-performance golf clubs, and FootJoy is growing strongly in the performance outerwear category, where it has become the industry leader. New product innovations, including successive generations of the Pro V1 golf ball, and investments in high-growth international markets, have enabled Acushnet to consistently outperform the market on growth and returns.

“The strength of the Acushnet Company as the undisputed global leader in the golf category, and confidence in our growth prospects, were factors contributing to the Board’s decision,” commented Acushnet CEO, Wally Uihlein. “Whether the Acushnet Company is sold to a new owner or becomes an independent publicly-traded company, our focus will be to keep on doing what’s made us the leader in our industry – the delivery of best-in-class products and service to our customers and golf consumers. We look forward to building on our track record of delivering performance and quality superior golf products to serious golfers worldwide.”

The Acushnet Company has a history of successful growth and evolution, even in times of change. Acushnet was founded in 1910 and in 1935 the first Titleist golf ball was brought to market. Fortune Brands acquired the Acushnet Company in 1976, and Acushnet acquired FootJoy in 1985. Acushnet Company’s net sales in 1975 were $51 million and in 2009 had grown to more than twenty-fold that number. Over the past 75 years, the Titleist golf ball has become golf’s standard of excellence, while FootJoy has developed number one positions in the shoe, glove, sock and now outerwear categories.

“Throughout the history of both brands – and the products and people that are the essence of the brands – there have been any number of challenges and new opportunities, and there have always been shareholders that the business has been accountable to. We have a strong history of rising to those challenges and taking advantage of those opportunities, while fulfilling our commitment to our shareholders,” continued Uihlein.

“With our industry leadership, our strong and unique culture, and our talented team, we look forward to a successful transition to new ownership and building the bridge to the next chapter in Acushnet Company’s accomplished history.”

The Fortune Brand’s Board has directed management to develop detailed separation plans for consideration and final approval by the Board. Fortune Brands expects to complete development of these plans – including the structure, timing, and other related matters for each business – within the next several months.

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Robert Sellman

To every Season there is a change, I guess we will wait to see if this good or bad.

Robert Sellman

good luck. good products

Robert Sellman

Team Titleist,

Thank you for keeping us, the players and consumers of your product updated in what is going on internaly with Acushnet. It is unfortunate what is happening, the company is great how it is and growth from this is hard to see. Hope you stay on track and at the top, keep Titleist, Titleist.  

Steve B

wow....that's BIG news. Just don't change ANYTHING about the balls, clubs, shoes or gloves and we'll stay loyal!!

Robert Sellman

I was quite surprised by this news of the spin offs.  I have and always will be a Titleist & Footjoy loyal supporter and wish it the best of luck in the future as a stand alone company.

Robert Sellman

Hopefully you will keep the titelist Team in tact.  I've been a PGA member for 17 years and employed in the golf business my entire adult life and without question, the Titleist Sales Representatives (Northern California) are truly the best I've ever been associtated with.  From "Johnny G" to Bruce Wilson to Mark Doris to Steve Gardner and Ted Bacci and Rick Overstreet there's no question they are the leaders in the industry!

jim C

Having been a strong Titleist products user, I do hope that wherever the company is spun off to, I hope they will continue to provide the excellent products that built this company.

Ron S

I do not know whether to be happy, clap my hands, or to be sad.  I have been a long time user of the products in the lines of Fortune Brands.  I started playing golf in the 50's and clearly remember the Acushnet Balls.  I started out as a caddy using balls I found while playing or in search of the illusive lost ball treasure along course boundaries.

I still use the products from head to toe and shoe.  My ball of choice are the Pro V's.  I enjoyed the privilege of testing the new ball for Pro V this spring and wrote and submitted a detailed account of their actions on my course.

I hope the lines will continue and progress with the technology for which they are the industry leaders.

Thank you.

Ron Smith


The "PLUM" of the Fortune Brands tree is Acushnet.

My hope is that Acushnet can become a stand alone entity.

With its history, management and insight into the needs of their clientele it should make an outstanding company.

Robert Sellman

I believe Acushnet will thrive in a new and seperate environment.  I will continue to support the company by purchasing Pro V's , Footjoy shoes, and Titleist clubs and gear.  Hit it  long and straight!