October 25, 2012 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA - Global Franchise Group, LLC (GFG), the strategic brand management company, announces its entry into a non-binding Letter of Intent to sell The Athletes Foot (TAF) to IIC - INTERSPORT International Corp. (IIC). TAF, a franchise retail brand that sells athletic shoes that satisfy both performance and lifestyle, currently has 430 franchisee-owned stores in 27 countries, including the United States, Mexico, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
INTERSPORT, headquartered in Berne, Switzerland with a current presence in 41 countries, is the largest sporting goods retailer in the world. INTERSPORT is well-positioned to support TAF's strategic growth and international development. Upon the completion of this acquisition, INTERSPORT will expand its global footprint to 63 countries and create opportunities for its current licensees to open TAF franchise stores.
"We have made the strategic decision to focus on our on core quick service restaurant industry franchise business," said Chris Dull, president and CEO, Global Franchise Group, LLC, "INTERSPORT presents an attractive opportunity to build the TAF brand through sports retailing expertise, purchasing volume and international market positioning in a way that should benefit the TAF franchisees."
"Geographically, TAF is an ideal complement to INTERSPORT, immediately providing the company presence in 63 countries, instead of the current 41. While we were in a strong global position, especially in Europe, the acquisition allows us to move into the lucrative markets of the USA, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand, take advantage of the potential of the emerging countries in South America, and strengthen our existing position in Asia and the Middle East. In current INTERSPORT markets, INTERSPORT licensees will open TAF stores," says Franz Julen, CEO of IIC-INTERSPORT International Corporation.
IIC intends to finance the acquisition with its own funds, and the purchase price is not disclosed. The parties intend to consummate the transaction by the end of November 2012. Consummation of the transaction remains subject to the negotiation and execution of definitive transaction documentation.
Global Franchise Group, LLC is a strategic brand management company with a focus on franchising. The company owns a portfolio of franchise brands that includes five quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise concepts: Great American Cookies®, MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery®, Marble Slab Creamery®, Pretzelmaker® and Pretzel Time®, as well as the retail franchise concept The Athlete's Foot (TAF)®. The brands are managed by GFG Management, LLC, a subsidiary of Global Franchise Group, LLC. Global Franchise Group, LLC is an affiliate of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, an independent investment firm, with approximately $5 billion of capital under management and substantial franchise management experience.
TAF®, previously known as The Athlete's Foot®, was the world's first franchisor of athletic footwear stores. The concept, founded in 1971 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, began domestic franchising in 1972 and opened its first international store in Adelaide, Australia in 1978. Today, TAF is recognized as the world leader in athletic footwear franchising operating in 27 countries. With a mission of meeting the needs of the everyday athlete, the brand, under Global Franchise Group's ownership, launched a global re-branding effort, including a modernized company logo, a new merchandising system, new in-store design and brand positioning.
Since the beginning of the sporting goods retail organization 44 years ago, INTERSPORT is worldwide the number one sports retailer. INTERSPORT International Corporation (IIC), with its headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, has today a turnover of over EUR 10 billion and over 5,400 affiliated sporting goods stores in 42 countries. From North America to Europe, all the way to the Middle East, the expansion continues in the direction of the Asia/Pacific region.