Callaway squash sale rumours with extraordinary statement

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After reports that Topgolf Callaway’s three largest investors are out to sell their ownership stakes and management rights, the company has come forward to squash the rumours.

The Chosun Daily ran the report that Topgolf Callaway could be sold off, sparking market activity.

In turn that market activity has drawn a response from Callaway, who are among golf’s top brands.

The largest shareholders are BlackRock Advisors LLC, Providence Equity Partners LLC, and Thomas Dundon. They collectively possess almost 33% of Topgolf Callaway shares.

According to the article, the reported aim would be to spin off Topgolf and sell the Callaway golf and clothing business for around $3 billion.

Callaway’s share prices soared off the back of the speculation, but fearing an adverse reaction the company has come out to clarify its position.

“While it is our long-standing practice not to respond to market rumors and speculation, in light of today’s unusual market activity, coupled with a recent media report originating in Korea regarding discussions of a potential sale of the Company or its golf equipment business, we confirm that we are not aware of any such discussions. We do not intend to comment further on this topic, and we assume no obligation to make any further announcement or disclosure should circumstances change.”

The company ended 2023 with total sales exceeding $4.28 billion and a yearly profit of $95 million. All three of the company’s business segments reported sales of at least $1 billion for the year, with the Topgolf division accounting for $1.76 billion. In 2023, the business established 11 new Topgolf locations, with plans to build eight more this year.

Callaway completed 2023 as the dominant golf equipment brand, with the No 1 market share in total clubs, drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, and irons.

If this claim is accurate and the Callaway brand is sold to a South Korean corporation, South Korean interests will possess three of golf’s top four brands. In 2011, FILA bought a controlling position in Acushnet, Titleist’s parent business, which is publicly traded. Centroid Investment Partners, a Seoul-based private equity group, acquired TaylorMade in 2021.

Callaway combined with Topgolf in March 2021 (it already held a 20% interest) and rebranded as Topgolf Callaway. The transaction was valued at an estimated $2 billion. Shortly after the merger, Topgolf Callaway stock reached approximately $37 per share. Despite record yearly sales over the last two years, the stock fell to a low of $10.05 in November. It ended at $13.91 yesterday, before news of a potential sale leaked.

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