BAUER ACQUIRING INARIA SPORTS APPAREL FIRM

The hockey and lacrosse equipment firm Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. is expanding into the manufacture of soccer team uniforms and other sports apparel with its recent purchase of Inaria International. Bauer acquired Inaria, which is based in Toronto, Canada, for $7 million.

Inaria’s name is a takeoff from the Italian soccer phrase which means “in the area.” Inaria started doing business in 1999, focusing on soccer uniforms and related products and soon established itself as an increasingly popular soccer apparel brand. Besides team soccer uniforms, Inaria also specialized in the manufacturing and selling of soccer equipment and accessories, as well as basketball and hockey apparel.

As the firm eventually emerged as a market leader, it diversified its product line to include practice and pro-style jerseys, warm-up suits socks, and training apparel. Its products appeal to a wide range of consumers to include youth sports programs up to the elite-team level categories. Inaria’s lifestyle wear has also grown to become one of the company’s top-sellers. The company likewise has the capability to take any custom order, be it soccer training uniform or any specialized apparel requirement.

Bauer, on the other hand, makes and sells equipment for ice hockey, roller hockey, and lacrosse as well as related apparel sold under the Bauer Hockey, Maverik Lacrosse, and Mission Roller Hockey brands. The company said the Inaria deal will help Bauer’s business expansion. Notably, the co-founders of Inaria have signed employment agreements with Bauer, and they will remain with the company which will continue to provide outfitting services to team soccer and other sports.

Kevin Davis, president and chief executive of Bauer Performance Sports, said their purchase of Inaria provides an exciting opportunity. The company, in effect, will not only serve those who want to buy soccer uniform or lacrosse apparel. This acquisition will allow Bauer to penetrate and compete in the large and growing market for other sports uniforms, a capability that the company lacks previously, Davis noted. It will expand the core competencies of Bauer to include the design, development and manufacturing of uniforms, and turn the company into a one-stop-shop for its retail partners worldwide, he added.

In its purchase of Inaria, Bauer also acquired the expertise not only in developing competitively priced quality products but also Inaria’s capability for rapid turnaround time in product manufacturing. From Canada, Inaria’s initial reputation as a reliable supplier of soccer team uniforms has spread not only in terms of product offerings but also geographically throughout North America. A significant number of leagues for soccer, hockey, and basketball across the continent, in fact, have chosen Inaria as their official outfitter. Notably, Inaria is the official apparel supplier of the Festival of Football in Canada, a grassroots program on soccer training as well as soccer coaching that had its inaugurals just this August.

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