January 19, 2017

Nashville Post
by Geert De Lombaerde

Local manufacturer PrideSports, which makes golf cleats, tees and other accessories, has merged with the Massachusetts-based parent of the Champ brand of spikes.

The combination of PrideSports and MacNeill Engineering has given birth to a new holding company, MacNeill Pride Group, with about 425 employees. Executives claim the company is the world’s largest maker and distributor of replaceable sport and industrial cleats — for sports including soccer, baseball, football and others in addition to golf — as well as various golf accessories.

PrideSports was acquired in late 2015 by New York-based private equity firm Centre Partners Management and last year also bought a small Denver company making branded tees and accessories. PrideSports’ Maine factory cranks out more than 300 million wooden tees each year. It also runs a plant in Wisconsin, a warehouse in Hong Kong and offices in England and Arizona, and is best known for its Softspikes brand of golf cleats.

MacNeill is a fourth-generation family business that was founded in 1931 and brings about 120 employees to the combined organization. It has offices in England, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Thailand and contracts with third parties for its manufacturing.

“PrideSports will take the best of both organizations to provide world-class traction technology across a myriad of field sports,” Joe Zeller, president and CEO of the combined entity, said in a statement. “We will continue to look for opportunities that help to position the company for enhanced growth and performance in the future.”

John Hohman, vice president of marketing, told the Post more acquisitions could be in the works as the new MacNeill Pride looks to both build the non-golf part of its business and deepen its relationships with big-name equipment brands such as Nike.

The newly merged company will be headquartered at PrideSports’ existing offices in Maryland Farms, where about 20 people work.