After a 12 year dalliance with skating, footwear giant Nike is leaving the business completely.
The company based in Beaverton, OR, is selling Bauer Hockey for $200 million to a Florida businessman and Kohlberg & Company.
Nike, the world's leading maker of athletic footwear, bought Bauer in 1995. A couple years later, it jumped into the hot inline skate market with its own Nike-branded line of skates.
Experts considered Nike's skates to be poorly designed. At least some of them lacked flexible ankle cuffs, which are a standard feature of most inline fitness skates.
When the inline market cooled a few years later (circa 2000-2002), Nike pulled out, although its unsold skates crowded supply channels for a few years.
Through all of this, Bauer continued to produce high quality ice and inline hockey skates. But apparently, it wasn't making enough money for Nike, which decided to sell it following a strategic review of the company's subsidiaries.
Nike is the second big footwear company to get out of the skate business in recent years.
Adidas cut its ties with skating when it sold Salomon in 2005. At the time, Salomon was one of the world's most popular skate brands. But the company's new owner, Amer Sports of Finland, pulled the plug on skate production.
Bauer, on the other hand, appears to have a solid future. Its new owners appear to have a strong commitment to the company.
Florida businessman W. Graeme Roustan, one of the new owners, is a lifelong hockey enthusiast who played the sport as a boy in Montreal and was involved in starting the Sharks NHL hockey franchise in San Jose, CA.
"It is a personal honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work with the existing dedicated team of professionals at Bauer and support this great company's continued industry leadership well into the future," Roustan said.
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