Pentland kicks in pounds 9.5m for Mitre

Mitre, a name synonymous with every schoolboy's birthday dream, is returning home after three years in the wilderness. Maker of most of the footballs pounded around premier league grounds every Saturday, the company is being sold by its American owners to Pentland Group for $15.1m (pounds 9.5m), the British group that made a fortune over there selling Reebok training shoes.

The last three years have not been happy ones for the 178-year old Mitre, which leads the market in footballs in Britain and has a substantial chunk of the US one. Genesco, a big American footwear wholesaler and retailer, bought the business from Grampian Holdings, the Scottish conglomerate, in 1992 to cash in on the World Cup held across the Atlantic in 1994, but the firm did not know what to do with the alien business of football. Having made profits of pounds 1.7m in 1990 Mitre broke even, before a pounds 500,000 management charge to its parent, on sales of pounds 17.3m in the year to January.

Pentland thinks it can do better. "It has been on the market for nine months, which meant we could pick it up for quite a good price," Frank Farrant, managing director, said. "It's a very good brand internationally. Fairly small, but we believe with our network of distributors we have a good opportunity to develop the brand."

He said that Pentland had done it before with brands such as Speedo, a maker of swimming attire, which was in an uncertain position when it was acquired. Next year, Speedo will be sponsoring 43 of the national swimming teams competing in the Atlanta Olympics, including the United States, Germany and China.

Mitre has yet to achieve such dizzy heights, although sponsored wearers of the company's boots include Steve Bruce, the Manchester United captain, John Hartson of Arsenal and Jonathan Davies, who plays for Warrington rugby league side.

Mr Farrant is confident that Mitre will fit well with brands such as Reusch goalkeeping and skiing gloves and Pony replica football kit. "Mitre's major product offering is in footballs, but we believe we can do a lot more in footwear and clothing because we are a brand manager," he said.

The company already supplies most of the football league clubs in Britain and America. Korea, Japan and China are just three of the markets that could soon follow. Pentland is in talks with potential distributors for its current brands and Mitre is likely to be added to the list.

The acquisition price for Mitre Sports International, which excludes the US business, is $11.4m (pounds 7.2m). Subject to final audit, Pentland is paying a further $3.8m for the stocks and certain fixed assets of the US operation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Guru Careers: Communications Exec / PR Exec

£25 - £30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a highly-motivated and ambitious Comm...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral