“Over the years, Rawlings and Easton have shared a dedication to being best in class,” said Mike Zlaket, the president and chief executive of Rawlings, “which is the one constant that ultimately inspired our coming together and what will create the best baseball and softball company in the world.”
Rawling is owned by Major League Baseball and Seidler Equity Partners, whose chief owner is Peter Seidler, the managing partner of the San Diego Padres.
The two entities purchased Rawlings as equal equity partners for $395 million from Newell Brands Inc., in 2018 during a controversy over one of its products: studies found that the baseballs Rawlings produces weren’t juiced, yet were flying out of ballparks in record numbers.
The studies showed the slickness of the ball was causing a lag factor, aiding to the record number of homers hit in 2018 and 2019 at both the Major League and minor league level.
Seidler is worth $3.3 billion and the Padres, which he and his group purchased from John Moores in 2012 for $800 million, were valued $1.45 billion, pre-pandemic. They are among a number of MLB teams this season expected to lose at least $100 million after playing a 60-game schedule, plus six playoff fans without fans in the stands.
The purchase price of the Easton deal was not disclosed.
“Major League Baseball is committed to growing baseball and softball worldwide,” said Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, about the Easton deal. “Rawlings and Easton are both All-Star companies. Capitalizing on the strength of these two companies will help future growth opportunities for baseball and softball at all levels of play.”
Easton is controlled by Peak Achievement Athletics Inc., which is also the parent of Bauer Hockey, Cascade Lacrosse and Maverik Lacrosse. Existing shareholders in Peak Achievement Athletics will stay on as minority owners in the combined company.
While both are big names in baseball and softball, Rawlings spokesman Mike Thompson said they have different expertise. Rawlings is a leader in balls and gloves, he said, while Easton is a leader in non-wood bats. “They’re very complimentary to each other,” Thompson said. “Ultimately the consumer wins in this deal because there will be more innovation, more customization, and more choice and more value.”
The two companies will continue to operate independently until the deal is finalized. Thompson said it could close in the next 30-45 days.
The combined entity, which is subject to U.S. regulatory clearance regarding the creation of monopolies, is meant to give buyers a one-stop shopping opportunity as well as increase the research and development of new or improved sporting goods products.