Genesco will sell Lids Sports Group to FanzzLids Holdings, a holding company owned by Ames Watson Capital, for $100 million in cash. Additionally, Fanatics will make a minority investment in FanzzLids and enter a commercial arrangement with the holding company. The transaction is expected to close at the end of Genesco’s current fiscal year, in early February 2019.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement to sell the Lids Sports Group to a buyer with experience in the licensed sports industry,” said Robert J. Dennis, Chairman, President and CEO of Genesco in a statement. “Under new ownership, the very talented team at Lids will continue to have the opportunity to realize the potential in this business."
Lids has been updating its custom capabilities through the launch of a designated “Custom Zone” that lets shoppers personalize their in-store hat purchases by adding names, numbers, quotes, phrases and images. The service gives Lids a way to differentiate its in-store experience from competitors, and earned the retailer recognition as a Retail TouchPoints 2018 Store Operations Superstar Award winner.
Fanatics already has proven itself willing to work with other retailers through its partnership with JCPenney, which announced in June 2018 that it planned to open approximately 650 Fanatics store-within-a-store locations. While the details of the relationship between Fanatics and Lids were not explained, the company’s emphasis on branded sportswear makes Fanatics a natural partner for Lids.