Fox Racing Shox sells majority interest

California sus maker gets cash for growth

Privately held Fox Racing Shox has sold a major interest to publicly-traded Compass Diversified Holdings (NASDAQ: CODI). The Watsonville, California-based suspension maker makes shocks and forks for mountain bikes, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles and off-road trucks.

According to the corporate website, the Compass Group International LLC was founded in 1998 by the Kattegat Trust. The sole beneficiary of Kattegat is the TK Foundation, a philanthropic foundation mandated by J. Torben Karlshoej, founder of Teekay Shipping Corporation (NYSE: TK), the world's largest marine transporter of petroleum products. Compass Group Management LLC was formed in May of 2006, when it became the manager of Compass Diversified Holdings (NASDAQ: CODI), a publicly traded holding company. Until then, the organization had invested exclusively on behalf of Kattegat and its affiliates.

Fox Racing company founder Bob Fox stresses the transaction was for growth for the company.

"This is a positive move for FOX Racing Shox, the transaction will allow us to increase our resources so we can grow," said Fox Racing's Elayna Caldwell. "We also make shocks for snowmobiles, ATV's, motorcycles and off-road trucks, and an increase in resources allows us to develop these markets further as well."

Bob Fox will remain as chief executive officer and will also retain 'significant ownership' in the company, along with other senior managers. The transaction will not affect management or staff, according to Caldwell.

"It's been a wonderful and exhilarating ride to see the company I started in my friend's garage grow to sales of over US$100 million," Fox said. "I'm proud of what we've done so far and know FOX will be a stronger company going forward than I alone had the resources to provide for."

"For over 30 years Fox Racing Shox has been devoted to fulfilling the performance needs of our customers," he added. "Over the last several years Fox has experienced unprecedented growth, and we now look forward to being partnered with Compass for the next chapter in our company's history. Being a successful, healthy company, Fox had the luxury of being able to carefully search out and select the best partner for this transition."

According to CODI CEO Joe Massoud, Fox was a perfect fit.

"FOX is a strong addition to CODI," he said. "This company possesses the critical characteristics we look for in all of our businesses, including market leadership and proven management. Bob Fox and his senior management team have driven growth by providing innovative suspension products for over three decades and we look forward to working with them to continue and accelerate this growth."

Bob Fox looks forward to refocusing his efforts on product development.

"I particularly look forward to the freedom this will provide me to again devote much of my time and energy doing the things - design, engineering, and innovation - that I love the most," Fox said. "A rich backlog of exciting, innovative concepts have been building up over the last few years, and I can hardly wait to start working on them with our engineering team."

© BikeRadar 2008

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