S&S Activewear, Bolingbrook, Ill., announced today that it has been acquired by private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Following the closure of the transaction, expected to take place during the first quarter of 2021, S&S president Jim Shannon will take on the role of CEO, with CD&R operating partner John Compton taking over as chairman of the board.

“This transaction is an important milestone for S&S and a validation of our continued success,” Shannon said. “As successful as we have been over the last two decades, we believe our growth story is just beginning. CD&R has a deep understanding of our business, from sourcing, freight and distribution center scaling, to technology and sales and marketing.”

S&S currently has more than 2,000 employees, and has existing partnerships with big-name apparel brands such as adidas, Champion, Gildan, Next Level Apparel and more.

“We are delighted to partner with a talented, entrepreneurial S&S team that shares our core values in a business we know and understand,” CD&R partner Ken Giuriceo said. “We look forward to working together to achieve our vision for continued strong growth that creates exciting opportunities for employees, vendors and customers, as well as the local communities where they operate.”

Private equity has been a polarizing issue in the promo space. Some companies that have gone this route have gained the financial backing to achieve growth otherwise not possible. Others worry about the long-term impacts of consolidation, or have simply found that private equity is just not a good fit for their companies.

But there are plenty of success stories. HPG’s private equity backing has helped it make multiple acquisitions over the past few years. Many of the industry’s largest suppliers are now owned in full or in part by private equity firms, with sustained growth to show for it.

S&S was already the industry’s second largest supplier by 2019 revenue. It will be interesting to see how it continues to grow with private equity support.

Source: Promo Marketing