Genesco sells Zionsville-based Lids

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By Chris Bavender

Zionsville-based retailer Lids Sports Group has been sold by its parent company, Genesco, to FanzzLids Holdings, a holding firm operated by an affiliate of Ames Watson Capital, for $100 million cash. The Maryland-based company also owns sports retailer Fanzz.

The deal is expected to close in early 2019.

In a statement, Genesco Chairman, President and CEO Robert Dennis said the company was pleased to have reached an agreement to sell Lids to a buyer with experience in the licensed-sports industry.

“Under new ownership, the very talented team at Lids will continue to have the opportunity to realize the potential in this business,” Dennis said. “We look forward to closing the transaction and devoting the full attention of Genesco’s management team to the opportunities we see in a footwear-focused company.”

Genesco, based in Nashville, Tenn., announced in February it planned to sell Lids, which has seen declining sales in recent quarters. The company makes and markets merchandise for top sports leagues around the world.

Lids operates 1,116 stores, including 119 Locker Room by Lids locations in Macy’s. The store count is down 10 percent from January 2017.

Two years ago, Lids built a $22 million, 150,000-square-foot headquarters in Zionsville. In June 2017, Lids had more than 9,000 employees, including 471 in Zionsville.

Lids, which got its start as Hat World in 1995, had been Genesco’s most successful subsidiary for several years after it was acquired in 2004. It has struggled in recent years after attempting to diversify into apparel and equipment for youth and school sports teams.

The sale of Lids will allow Genesco to focus on its footwear business.

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