You are here

Fox drops offer to acquire Mavic, but about 13 potential buyers remain

Published July 17, 2020
The Badger is still in the hunt. French administrators will decide on the winning bid this month.

GRENOBLE, France (BRAIN) — Fox Factory has removed itself from the bidding to acquire Mavic SAS, which is in receivership in France. However, about 13 other groups, including several with ties to the bike industry, have expressed interest in the company. On Thursday French judicial administrators in charge of the company reviewed their proposed plans.

In May, Mavic entered receivership, a status similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., intended to help a company restructure debts while under management and protection of a trustee. One difference, at least in this case, is that in considering competing bids and plans the French commercial court places a priority on preserving jobs, while U.S. bankruptcy courts prioritize satisfying creditors.  

The French administrators are expected to announce a decision at the end of this month. Besides preserving jobs, the court is keen to hear plans for how potential owners would extricate Mavic from its former owner, Amer (which was acquired by a Chinese sports group last year). Mavic continues to share a building with Amer's Salomon brand near Annecy, and Mavic continues to pay Amer for production and services at Amer-owned facilities elsewhere in France and Eastern Europe. While Mavic has several hundred employees in France, it also indirectly supports scores of Amer employees.

Fox looked into acquiring the brand, Fox Factory's Chris Tutton confirmed to BRAIN.

"We did get into due diligence with Mavic but after a deep dive I have decided to pull our bid and remove Fox from the process," Tutton said. "That said, we are certainly looking to make acquisitions inside the bicycle industry if the fit is right for our brands."

Tutton is the president of Fox's Specialty Sports Group, which comprises the Fox and Marzocchi bicycle suspension brands and the Easton Cycling and Race Face component brands.

Other companies that have expressed interest include a group led by French lawyer Didier Poulmaire. Poulmaire's group includes five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault.

François Guers, the founder of the French e-bike brand Whattfornow — which recently bought Time from Rossignol Group — also is a bidder. A Swiss bike security company and a Norwegian internal hub maker also have submitted plans. A full list of the 14 bidders is below.

Regent LP, a California-based group, acquired Mavic from Amer Sports last year. Regent — which also acquired the Redline, iZip and Diamondback brands from Accell Group last year — told BRAIN that Mavic's U.S. operations are unaffected by the receivership in France. However, it's unclear what role Regent plays in the French receivership, and several U.S. dealers have told BRAIN that communication and customer service from Mavic USA has been problematic this year.

A group that represents labor at the Mavic facility near Annecy, France, has complained in the French media that Regent did not invest in Mavic after the acquisition.

David Steinhafel, the CEO of Mavic USA and a principal in Regent LP, has declined to comment on the receivership because of on-going legal disputes.

Mavic was put under the management of a French turn-around company in February and entered receivership in May at the commercial court in Grenoble. 

The bidders, and some notes on their plans, from a person familiar with the proceedings:

  • François Guers (France): The manufacturer Whattfornow e-bikes and owner of Time, promises to keep 113 Mavic employees. Its plan calls for consolidating Mavic functions currently in Annecy and Saint-Trivier to Rumilly, France. In addition, 50% of Mavic's activity in Romania would also be relocated to Rumilly.
  • SELAS Poulmaire (France): The group that includes Didier Poulmaire and Bernard Hinault. Its plan calls for retaining 110 jobs and maintaining Mavic's facility in Saint-Trivier.
  • A French group that includes investors O.Salaun, P.Marias, L.Delorme, and S.Vigouroux. Its plan would retain 100 jobs and merge the Annecy and St. Trivier activities at another site.
  • Benjamin Moine (France): An investor from La Clusaz, France. His plan calls for saving 87 jobs and maintaining Mavic activities in Annecy, St. Trivier and Romania.•
  • Bourrelier (France): A company that owns a chain of home improvement retailers. Its plan retains 84 jobs and the St. Trivier facility. 
  • Pelican Ventures (France): An investment group formed by Jean-Pierre Gorgé. Its plan would retain 65 jobs. It would transfer out of the Annecy facility within the year, or request to stay in the facility (which is owned by Amer's Salomon) at no charge. It would maintain Mavic's St. Trivier and Romanian facilities.
  • Kindernay / CA TECH (Norway): The manufacturer of internal gear hubs and wheels. Its plan would preserve 51 jobs.
  • Azimuth (France): Its plan would preserve 46 jobs and closing the Annecy facilty, with some Annecy workers telecommuting or transfering to St. Trivier. The plan also would maintain the Romanian facility.
  • Chamatex (France): A textile company. 12 jobs kept. The Annecy and Saint-Trivier sites would be closed.
  • Saint Jean Industries (France): A manufacturer of parts for the automotive industry and other applications. It would retain one job.
  • Liberty House (Singapore): A "global industrial and metals group." No jobs preserved.
  • Pumped Shops (France): No jobs preserved
  • Withdrawn bid: Fox Factory (USA): Its plan would have retained 16 jobs and moved the Annecy facility out of its current location. It also would have transferred activity from St. Trivier to Eastern Europe.
  • Withdrawn bid: Gravity Code/Ixow (Switzerland): These two companies made a joint offer that called for retaining 124 jobs at Mavic and creating another industrial production site in Annecy. Saint-Trivier would have become the manufacturing site for aluminum rims. A source at the company told BRAIN they withdrew their bid several weeks ago.
Mavic continues to share its Annecy, France, facility with Salomon.

Join the Conversation