Raleigh-based online golf retailer Global Value Commerce, which calculates it’s the No. 1 seller of pre-owned golf equipment, has combined with a smaller rival to create a business that is on track to post more than $55 million in sales this year.
Financial details of the deal with 3balls.com, which is based in West Bridgewater, Mass., weren’t disclosed. The combined business, which will operate under the Global Value Commerce name, will have about 150 employees.
“We have really emerged as one of the leading players in the golfing industry right now,” said Ed Byman, founder and CEO of Global Value, which has been selling new and used golf equipment on websites globalgolf.com, TaylorMadegolfpreowned.com, golfshoesonly.com and divot.com. It also sells equipment on online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
Byman said the deal will provide operating efficiencies and the combined business will be able to offer a larger selection of pre-owned equipment.
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“This is an exciting combination,” said Kel Landis, co-founder of investment firm Plexus Capital, which has provided financing to Global Value. “In mergers like this ... you always want 1 plus 1 to equal more than 2 or 3, and I think that’s going to be the case here.”
Landis added that he has the “utmost confidence” that the management team of the combined company will be able to take advantage of its larger size.
Although the deal is billed as a merger, Global Value is about twice as large as 3balls and the transaction has all the hallmarks of an acquisition. The combined company is headquartered in Raleigh and Byman is the CEO.
Byman is a former professional golfer who played on the PGA tour for three years and won the Mexican Open by two strokes over Lee Trevino in 1974.
Leigh Bader, who was president of 3balls, is executive vice president of the combined company and also has been named to the board of director of the privately held business.
Global Value brings nearly 100 employees to the deal, most of whom are at two sites in Raleigh’s Brier Creek area. 3balls adds more than 50 workers to the mix.
Byman said he doesn’t anticipate any layoffs because the business is growing.
He said the cost savings will come from better shipping rates thanks to higher volume. Byman also said that 3balls has been outsourcing most of its information technology work.
“We do that in-house,” he said. “We’ll be able to take that on.”
Byman said Global Value has posted 20 percent year-over-year growth every year since it was formed in 2001 – even in recent years when the number of golf rounds played nationwide has remained flat.
“If you’re growing, you are probably taking share from someone else,” he said.
3balls, founded in 1998, operated from a single website – 3balls.com. It also teamed up with the Professional Golfers Association to create the PGA Trade-In Network, whereby more than 7,000 PGA golf pros nationwide accept golf club trade-ins.
Global Value started out selling used golf club on eBay but branched out to its own websites beginning in 2006.
Byman said that he and Bader of 3balls had held exploratory talks about teaming up that go back several years.
“We have great respect for them,” Byman said. “Their values mirror ours. ... It was a good fit.”