Buyout firm Kelso explores sales of Augusta Sportswear -sources

By Abigail Summerville

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity firm Kelso & Co is exploring a sale of Augusta Sportswear Brands in a deal that could value the U.S. catalog seller of team sports uniforms and apparel at between $700 million and $800 million, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

Kelso is working with investment bank Robert W. Baird & Co on an auction process for Augusta, the sources said. Augusta generates roughly $80 million in 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the sources added.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. Kelso declined to comment, while Augusta and Baird did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other than Augusta, the company’s brands include Holloway, Russell Athletic, High Five, CCM and Pacific Headwear.

Founded in 1977 by Brian Marks at the age of 27, Augusta was originally called Canvas Products of Georgia and manufactured laundry and duffel bags. Kelso acquired Augusta from another private equity firm, Quad-C Management Inc, in 2012 for an undisclosed amount.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc downgraded Augusta in March from high risk to very high risk, arguing that its $347 million loan and $40 million revolving facility constituted a burden that left it with limited liquidity.

(Reporting by Abigail Summerville in New York; Editing by Christopher Cushing)