Buyer could snare Spyder for up to $150 million
Apax Partners, a New York-based private-equity firm, has retained Blackstone Group to look for a potential buyer for the company, according to the Post. Apax spokeswoman Georgiana Brunner said Monday, Aug. 13, that her firm “can’t comment on market speculation about our partners.”
A spokesperson at Boulder-based Spyder did not respond to a request for comment. A Blackstone Group representative also was not available for comment.
Apax acquired a controlling interest in Spyder in 2004 for about $100 million. At the time, founder David Jacobs told the Boulder County Business Report that he expected the company to grow to $85 million in revenue for that fiscal year. The former Canadian downhill ski champion continued to lead the Spyder team as chairman at the time but phased out his roles as president and chief executive over the next few years.
Apax is known for investing between $5 million and $100 million in a company, then selling its interest after three to six years, an Apax spokeswoman said at the time.
Jacobs started the company in 1978 as a mail-order business with one ski race sweater for sale, according to the company website. When the race sweater did well, he decided to add ski pants to his catalog — a navy blue pant with yellow striped pads from the knee to the hip. When Jacobs’ son Billy said skiers were calling the pants “spider” pants, because of their appearance, Jacobs decided to rename the company. He decided to use a “y” rather than an “i” to borrow from the Ferrari Spyder brand of high-performance auto, according to the website.
In 1994, Jacobs received a patent for his SpeedWyre technology, which the company said reduced wind drag on ski racing suits by as much as 20 percent, according to the website. The technology eventually was banned by the International Ski Federation, the alpine racing governing body, for giving an unfair advantage to wearers.
Jacobs also was inducted into The Boulder County Business Hall of Fame in 2004. At the award ceremony, Jacobs told the audience that he felt as though he were sitting on a rocket and trying to hold on. He previously had won another Boulder County award — the Esprit Entrepreneur award from the Boulder Chamber — in 1991.
Among skiers and others, Spyder’s black widow logo is synonymous with stylish, technically oriented skiwear and outerwear. The company sponsors the U.S. and Canadian Alpine Ski Teams, as well as several professional free skiers, and amateur regional athletes.
Apax manages $12 billion worldwide and has helped fund companies with names such as Calvin Klein, Apple and Office Depot.
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