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KKR To Acquire Academy Sports + Outdoors

Investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP (KKR) has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Academy Sports + Outdoors. The Gochman family will retain a minority ownership stake in the retailer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Katy, Texas, Academy Sports + Outdoors is one of the nation’s largest sporting goods and outdoor stores offering a broad selection of products, including hunting, fishing and camping equipment along with sports and leisure products, footwear and apparel.

Academy Sports + Outdoors has 131 locations throughout 11 states in the Southeast U.S. with approximately 16,000 associates. The privately held retail chain generated more than $2.7 billion in revenue in 2010.

Founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, KKR is a global investment firm with $61 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2011. With 14 offices around the world, including one in Mumbai, KKR manages assets through a variety of investment funds and accounts covering multiple asset classes.

Current and previous retail investments by KKR include Sealy, Dollar General, Toys “R” Us, Pets at Home, Maxeda, Duracell, Gillette, RJR Nabisco, and Safeway.

KKR trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: KKR). The price of KKR stock closed at $17.12 per share on May 27, up from $9.75 a year earlier.

“This transaction with KKR will help accelerate Academy’s continued growth and provide even greater flexibility to achieve our strategic goals,” said Rodney Faldyn, president of Academy Sports + Outdoors, in a press release.

“KKR understands our industry and our business well, and will be a tremendous partner as we build upon our leadership position, continue to implement our strategic plan and continue to exceed the needs of our customers,” added Faldyn.

Mike Calbert, a member of KKR and head of the firm’s retail investment team, describes the investment firm as a long-term investor looking for retail franchises. “Academy Sports + Outdoors is a perfect fit. We are excited to partner with the management team, the Gochmans and all the associates of Academy in accelerating the company’s future growth.”

Faldyn will continue to serve as president of Academy Sports + Outdoors. He also will assume the CEO role once the transaction closes in six to eight weeks.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. is acting as financial advisor to Academy Sports + Outdoors, with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz LLP and Fulbright & Jaworski LLP acting as its legal counsel. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse AG and Barclays Plc. served as financial advisor to KKR, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP was the legal counsel.

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