Done Deals: Wind Point Platform Goes International –

Wind Point Partners’ sports optics platform, Worldwide Sports & Recreation Inc., is adding a little international flavor to their mix. The company last week acquired Bolle Inc., a manufacturer of recreational and safety eyewear, for $85 million. Bolle, based in Denver but founded in France, has numerous distribution networks throughout Europe, South America and North America, as well as in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Wind Point Partners, invested $60 million in Worldwide Sports last year. Of that amount, $25 million was used for the addition of Bolle. The total value of the Bolle acquisition is $85 million, including $20.5 million in debt financing by Antares Leveraged Capital Corp., and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., which provided the subordinated debt.

Richard Kracum, managing director at Wind Point, said the firm is very excited about the addition and the global networks it will open for Worldwide Sports’ products. Worldwide Sports is the parent company for Voit Sporting Goods, Bushnell, a sports optics company with products such as telescopes and riflescopes, and Bausch & Lomb, which makes optics products.

Bolle, which currently operates facilities in both the U.S. and France, “was acquired to allow Worldwide Sports to leverage Bolle’s product line through our existing distribution network and vice versa,” Kracum said.

Bolle generated $65 million in revenue in 1999. Kracum said the deal will leverage the distribution strengths of both companies. In addition, Worldwide Sports plans to invest heavily in new product design for the eyewear company. Bolle’s offices will be moved to Worldwide Sports’ corporate headquarters in Kansas City to save costs.

Wind Point, which started out as a venture capital firm, now specializes in buyouts and recapitalizations. “This is typical of what Wind Point does-back worldclass CEOs and allow them to build great companies through organic growth and acquisition, and that’s exactly what we are doing with [Bolle],” said Kracum.

Kracum said that Joe Messner, the chief executive officer at Worldwide Sports, is experienced and talented in the eyewear industry.

Last Fall, when Bolle’s board of directors decided to pursue strategic options, its adviser, Bank of America Securities, recommended Wind Point, in light of the completed buyout of Worldwide Sports.

Worldwide Sports is continuing to look for investments and is expecting to make another acquisition before the end of the year.

Wind Point is in the midst of fund raising for Wind Point Partners IV LP which has a target of $350 million. To date, the fund has received hard commitments of $340 million. Kracum said his firm has invested approximately $100 million to date, of the fourth fund in three deals.