Performance Bicycle Sold to Private Equity Firm

North Castle Partners has been wheeling and dealing: The private equity investor announced on July 3 it bought Performance Bicycle. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition to the flagship Performance brand, the $200 million-plus marketer of bicycling gear and accessories also operates the Bike Nashbar bicycling brand. Performance, which mails an estimated 10 million catalogs annually, closed a third title, Supergo, last year.

Garry Snook and wife Sharon in 1982 founded Performance Bicycle in the basement of their Chapel Hill, NC-based home as a cataloger of bike parts and accessories, and later expanded into retail. To date, Performance has 74 stores in 14 states with plans to open 90 additional stores during the next four years.

As part of the deal, Garry Snook, who also invested an undisclosed sum, will continue as chief executive of Performance. New York-based investment bank Goldsmith Agio Helms represented the sellers.

Performance sells to cycling enthusiasts 35-54 years with a household income exceeding $100,000. North Castle Partners sees the bicycle merchant as an ideal fit in its cadre of investments targeting healthy living and aging baby boomers. Its holdings include Red Door Spas, Enzymatic Therapy, and Octane Fitness. North Castles will build upon previous retail experience with Equinox and Red Door to help Performance complete its rollout.

Just as private equity player Bain Capital bought cataloger/retailer Guitar Center last week, North Castle, too, saw an opportunity to acquire a major player in a highly fragmented market. Performance Bicycle is poised for growth because “it will benefit from the “burgeoning consumer interest in health and fitness,” said North Castle’s founder/chairman Chip Baird in a release.

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