When Fortune Brands announced it would be spinning off into three separate units – golf, liquor and home goods – a few favorites developed among observers to take ownership of the golf business headed at Acushnet.
Nike, TaylorMade-Adidas, Srixon and Cleveland parent Sumitomo Rubber Industries – even a group potentially headed by Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein – were rumored potential bidders. But Callaway Golf? It was ruled out to go it alone. The company may not have much debt, but it simply didn’t have the cash to pony up some $1 billion-plus expected selling price for the golf giant.
According to a Reuters report, Callaway has found a private equity partner in Blackstone Group – a big player in that space.
Final bids for the company are due May 9, according to the report. If the submitted second round bids do not satisfy Fortune Brands, the golf unit could simply be spun off into another company with no sale required.
Callaway and Acushnet are still mired in a multi-year lawsuit over ball patents related to the Pro V1. Callaway plans to appeal a final judgment made this week in favor of Acushnet in the initial suit filed in 2006, as well filing a new suit.
Note: Ryan Ballengee is a writer for NBCSports.com, read more of his blogs at ProGolfTalk.