Head Sport, a European sports company that makes skis, tennis rackets and other athletic gear, has agreed to buy most of the assets of struggling bike retailer Advanced Sports Enterprises, the parent company of Chapel Hill-based Performance Bicycle.
Head bought the assets in a bankruptcy auction for around $22 million, according to court filings, though the sale still requires court approval.
The auction happened last week and representatives from giant retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart’s Moosejaw subsidiary were at the auction, according to trade publication Bicycle Retailer, which first reported the deal. The court was set to consider the asset purchase agreements at a hearing on Tuesday, but that decision was pushed back to Feb 1, according to Bicycle Retailer’s report.
The agreement could be a lifesaver for Performance Bicycle, which had started clearance sales at all of its stores and notified the state’s Commerce Department last year that it was planning on laying off its corporate staff in Chatham County, as The News & Observer has previously reported.
“We are very happy with the outcome of the auction,” said ASE spokeswoman Karen Bliss in an email. “From what we have learned, Head Sport views sport and recreation in the same way that we do, valuing innovation and quality products.
“They also are interested in retaining up to 65 Performance stores, which is exciting.”
Head didn’t return requests for comment, so it is unclear which stores and how many jobs could be retained after the sale.
When it first declared bankruptcy, Performance Bicycle said that only 40 of the company’s 102 stores would close — none of which were in North Carolina. But since then liquidation sales were started at all of the company’s stores in the U.S.
Performance Bicycle’s history goes back more than 30 years, when it started as a bicycle catalog company. It has around 2,000 employees. Bicycle Retailer and Industry News estimated that Performance’s annual revenue was between $275 million and $280 million when it was purchased in 2016.
Advanced Sports Enterprises, the Philadelphia company that bought Performance Bicycle a little more than two years ago, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 16, listing debts of more than $100 million.
Along with Performance Bicycle, Advanced Sports also owns the bike brands Fuji, Kestrel, SE, Breezer Bikes and Tuesday Cycles as well as the retailer Bike Nashbar.