The Acushnet Co. (Titleist, FootJoy) parent Fortune Brands has selected Morgan Stanley to run the sale of its golf division. Bloomberg quotes people “with knowledge’’ of the matter as saying Acushnet could bring as much as $1.5 billion. Bloomberg also says Morgan Stanley might target “potential strategic acquirers” such as Nike Inc. and TaylorMade-adidas Golf parent adidas AG, as well as private-equity firms and Asian companies such as Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.
It all sounds good on the surface, but consider that any potential sale of Acushnet to another golf equipment giant would have to meet anti-trust laws. Fortune Brands, I think, wants its money from any Acushnet sale as soon as possible (although any sale likely will take longer than most people think) and doesn’t want to go through the anti-trust red tape if it doesn’t have to.
Nike’s name always come up, it seems, when another golf company is for sale, but remember that Nike’s culture is not that of a manufacturing company. Acushnet manufactures its golf balls near its headquarters in Fairhaven, Mass.