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Report: Easton-Bell Preparing for Sale

Sporting goods maker Easton-Bell Sports Inc., the exclusive supplier of NFL helmets, is reportedly being put up for sale by its private equity owners for up to $900 million. A report by the Reuters news service said that New York private equity firm Fenway Partners LLC would like to unload the Van Nuys manufacturer, which has been losing money and hit by management turnover. Last year, Easton-Bell reported a net loss of $3.4 million, including a net sales loss of about 11 percent in the fourth quarter. Shares of the company are not traded but it does report some financials because it has publicly traded debt. Terry Lee, who has been a member of the company’s board since 2000, replaced Paul Harrington as chief executive in February. The company said Harrington was retiring to spend more time with his family. Easton-Bell and Fenway Partners both declined to comment on the report. Fenway acquired Van Nuys predecessor company Easton Sports Inc. in 2006 for $400 million and merged the company into its existing Riddell Bell Holdings, makers of helmets and other sporting equipment. Aside from supplying the NFL, the company makes gear for the National Hockey League and consumer- and professional-grade cycling gear under the Giro and other brands. It has manufacturing and distribution facilities in 32 locations worldwide.

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