UK-based internet retailers Planet X have bought US mountain bike brand Titus Cycles at auction. The Rotherham-based company purchased all of Titus's assets from major lender Factors Southwest (FSW) on Tuesday night after emerging victorious from a second round of bidding.
“Titus have a lot of followers and as a result we had strong interest,” Robyn Barrett, founder and managing member of FSW, told BikeRadar. “We're very pleased with the outcome of the sale and believe Planet X are a great fit and will carry the brand through and take the company to the next level.”
Arizona-based Titus closed their doors a week ago after failing to keep up with loan repayments. The company had trouble finding stable footing following the departure of founder Chris Cocalis in 2006 and two changes of ownership.
Planet X's finance director, Paul Bennett, told BikeRadar that the British company would be making a statement on the acquisition later today. When asked whether Titus's manufacturing might move to the UK, he said it was too early to comment on any details of the sale, adding that "it's all happened very quickly".
"Clearly it's very early days and we need to respect a whole load of variables that need careful consideration," said Bennett. "Not least the history of the brand and its values and virtues."
When we spoke to Factors Southwest last week, spokeswoman Juliet Straker said it was expected that the new owner of Titus would "honour warranty issues and handle the need for parts".
Cocalis founded Titus in 1991. He remained at the head of the company until 2006 when he sold his final stakes in the company to Vyatek Sports. In 2008, Vyatek sold the brand to GAI Cycles of Phoenix. From there it went through two CEOs before the FSW foreclosure last week.
Planet X were founded in the mid-1990s by Dave Loughran – who had previously been the UK distributor for the likes of Lemond, Fondriest, Casati, Rocky Mountain and Odyssey – to sell dirt jump and trials bikes and parts. They quickly gained a reputation for top performance at bargain prices, before branching out into road bikes and launching the offshoot On-One mountain bike brand.