ACON Investments, a private equity investment firm based in Washington D.C., announced today the closing of ACON Strategic Partners II, L.P., a new single-asset continuation fund of approximately $700 million in connection with the partial sale of its ACON Equity Partners IV portfolio investment in New Era Cap, LLC as well as an increase in its existing ownership stake in New Era Cap. With its 102-year history, the Company has established itself as the largest global authentic headwear and lifestyle brand in licensed sports. New Era Cap’s iconic brand serves as the official headwear license partner for Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association as well as 170+ other licensed partnerships around a variety of headwear, apparel and accessory products.
The Continuation Fund, managed by ACON, will be supported by both new and continuing limited partners of ACON. New investors are led by Apollo, GCM Grosvenor, Hamilton Lane and Neuberger Berman, on behalf of their respective managed funds. ACON Investments and ACON Equity Partners IV continue to maintain significant stakes in the Company.
New Era Cap designs, markets and distributes over 200 million pieces of headwear and apparel annually and has experienced several years of record organic revenue growth, which is expected to continue for the forseeable future. ACON’s initial investment in January 2021 represented the Company’s first and only institutional equity capital. The Company continues to implement a multi-pronged growth strategy including further expanding its 800+ retail store footprint throughout Asia, Mexico, Latin America and Brazil and growing its core lifestyle brand in apparel as well as its DTC platform. New Era Cap will continue to be led by Chris Koch, its fourth-generation CEO, whose great grandfather, Ehrhardt Koch, founded New Era Cap in 1920 in Buffalo, New York.
Ken Brotman, Founding Partner of ACON Investments, commented, “New Era Cap represents a unique and proprietary opportunity in which ACON served as an early partner for the Company and the first institutional equity capital for this 102-year old iconic brand. We are humbled to be the Company’s trusted partner and have great respect for New Era Cap’s long and rich history and what Chris Koch and the management team have built. It has been one of our best performing portfolio investments in ACON Equity Partners IV, and we are excited to continue our partnership with Chris and the team to drive further growth and expansion around the globe.”
Chris Koch, CEO of New Era Cap, stated, “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with ACON and lean on their vast experience in the lifestyle and consumer products sector. Their proven track record of supporting companies through growth and expansion made ACON the perfect partner for our business. This new capital will facilitate the acceleration of our aggressive growth initiatives and allow us to consider potential North American and global aquisitions that may be additive to our already powerful global platform.”
As part of the transaction, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association will become minority owners in New Era Cap. Jim Grundtisch, Chief Revenue Officer of New Era Cap remarked, “Having our three largest league partners aligned with us through a strategic equity position further solidifies our already strong partnerships. We are committed to continuing on the robust global growth trajectory we have set for our brand and for our key global partners well into the future.”
ACON was represented in the transaction by Evercore. Jefferies LLC also acted as a financial advisor to ACON while Winston & Strawn served as ACON’s legal advisor. Truist Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner served as legal advisor to New Era Cap.
Since 1920, New Era Cap has been hand-crafting the finest headwear in the world. Today, with apparel and accessories lines, the brand is a market leader rooted in sports and an influencer of street and lifestyle culture around the globe. With over 170+ licenses in its portfolio, New Era Cap is the brand of choice in the worlds of sport, fashion, music and entertainment. The Company is headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., and its products are sold in more than 120 countries. For more information on New Era Cap’s global offices and partnerships, please visit www.neweracap.com and social channels @neweracap.
ACON Investments, L.L.C. is a Washington, D.C.-based international private equity investment firm that manages private equity funds and special purpose partnerships that make investments in the United States, Latin America and Europe. With professionals in Washington, D.C., Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Bogotá, Madrid, Mexico City and São Paulo, ACON has managed $6.9 billion in assets since inception and has a 26-year track record.
ACON U.S. is one of the most established organically diverse private equity firms with 70% of senior management (ex founders) and 68% of all employees comprised of women and/or individuals from diverse backgrounds. ACON is a value investor with deep expertise in the Consumer, Industrials and Business Services sectors and with a track record of success in situations involving first institutional capital for family-owned businesses, brand repositioning, industry consolidation and corporate carveouts. In addition, ACON is focused on a new paradigm of Strategic Sustainability across its portfolio with a commitment to achieving sustainable outcomes while driving financial returns and profitability.
For more information, please visit www.aconinvestments.com