Fortune Brands to Sell or Spin Off Acushnet Company

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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25 Replies

  1. Robert Sellman

    Why is Davis Love (a long time Titleist endorser ) going to Bridgestone? It is my understanding that he has had many longstanding friendships within this organization.

  2. Hotsauce

    Be careful Fortune Brands...  I sincerely hope that Titleist balls, bags, clubs, Vokey, Scotty Cameron, and Foot Joy stay the same.  I honestly don’t know what I would do.  We all know that Titleist fans are some of the most passionate and loyal fans in the game.  Keep giving us the top notch products we crave and I’ll still love you forever.  

  3. Robert Sellman

    changes to corporate structure/shareholdings is one thing but please leave to product range and quality well alone....the products have been the finest over many years and have served the players well

  4. Josh P

    This is really big news. Hopefully nothing changes because I love everything about all Titleist products, from the Drivers all the way to the Golf Towels.

  5. Robert Sellman

    I started my golf with the a Titleist driver and have played them for 40 years. I started with the acushnet pro traj 100 ball and have played the pro V1x since it came out. This is my 60th year of golf. I hope there will always be a Titleist ball.

  6. Jeff M

    It could benefit the companies if it keeps the same management teams and R&D working to keep your position in the market place. If done properly it could be a prosperous solution to keep the companies lean and profitable.

  7. Team Titleist

    Be assured that it is business as usual at Titleist and you will not see any changes in process, product quality or performance.  We will be sure to keep you up to date if and when anything happens regarding a future sale or spin off of Acushnet Company. 

    In the meantime, you can continue to in play and purchase Titleist equipment with complete confidence.  

    As always, thank you for your support.  

    Titleist. Golf's symbol of excellence.

  8. Robert Sellman

    I think it is a good move as the executives I assume will all be golf related and educated to the industry moves to keep Acushnet the leader in the golf equipment business. 

  9. Robert Sellman

    Titleist and Footjoy are the gold standard in the golf industry. Acushnet's industry leading position has come from superior products which appeal to the serious golfer.The protfolio of products Acushnet has assembled is far and away the top in the industry and the reason the company has generated such loyal enthusiast as myself.

  10. Tom B

    The change makes me a little nervous that the quality of Titleist products may suffer. I have used Titleist products for 45 years, and if the quality stays at the level it is I will continue to do so.

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