COMMENT: The cycle industry has seen a flurry of acquisitions in a relatively short space of time...

Wiggle, Raleigh, Cervelo…who next?

Mergers and company purchases are not alien to the bike trade, but the last five months have seen an eye-catching level of acquisitions.

Is this yet another sign of a thriving industry, attractive to investors willing to splash cash on cycle firms?

One of the biggest acquisitions in the period, and the most recent, is of course Raleigh. Mere weeks after Accell announced it was in exclusive talks with the British brand, it purchased the firm, valuing it at €76 million (around £62 million).

Just a few months earlier another British brand with a worldwide name – Wiggle – was bought. Fat Face owner Bridgepoint spent a cool £180 million on the online retailer.

While those two may have grabbed the majority of the headlines, they weren’t the only ones being snapped up in the cycle world.

California bike brand Marin was acquired by European investment firm Minestone in February. The ever-active Accell also purchased titanium bicycle and frame builder Van Nicholas in December. And then in November International Sport Holding tookover Stromer, placing it under the same roof as BMC and Bergamont.

And in February, following reports a month earlier, Cervelo was acquired by Pon Holdings – a major shareholder of Germany’s Derby Cycle.

It’s one thing to lump all these acquisitions together for our purposes here – each of these were obviously individual deals made for individual reasons. Nevertheless, it’s tempting to see the activity as an indicator of a market that is attractive to investors.

The momentum behind cycling, touched on by the Bicycle Association president’s address at last week’s AGM and at Future’s second Spring Conference a week earlier, seems to be having an impact on the industry too, inspiring companies with financial might to wield their cash.

And that’s the kind of news that can warm the cockles of private owners of bicycle businesses.

‘Who next?’ is a tough question to accurately answer, but it does seem likely that over the coming months we’ll see plenty more businesses being perhaps a bit more vocal about how well they’re doing, possibly hoping to catch the eye of an investment firm or two with some funds to spend.

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