May 14, 2004

Spyder, with sales surging, looks for buyer, report says

BOULDER ? Boulder?s entrepreneurial skiwear designer and manufacturer Spyder Active Sports Inc. is looking for a buyer or investor, according to media reports.

Neither Laura Wisner, media manager, nor the company?s founder and president, David Jacobs, would comment on the news, which first was reported by The Daily Deal. The New-York based financial paper reported that New York investment banking firm Financo Inc. and Wachovia Securities have been hired by Spyder to find possible buyers.

Jacobs did confirm to The Boulder County Business Report that his company has experienced a surge in revenues, from almost $40 million in fiscal year 2002 to $63.2 million in fiscal year 2003, making it one of the largest privately held companies in the Boulder Valley if ranked by revenues.

And since orders already have been made for the 2004-2005 ski season, Jacobs said the company believes its revenues will continue to grow to $85 million in fiscal year 2004. Spyder?s fiscal year runs from April to April.

Jacobs was inducted in April to The Boulder County Business Hall of Fame and told the audience then that he feels like he?s sitting on a rocket and trying to hold on.

Jacobs told The Business Report there are several trends driving Spyder?s growth.

? First, there has been a consolidation within the sporting goods industry to large retailers like Galyans, Gart Sports, Special Sports Ventures and Sports Chalet, fueling demand for the top sports brands that include Columbia, North Face, Burton Snowboards and Spyder. ?More and more doors are now controlled,? Jacobs said.

? Second, Spyder, which has nine different skiwear collections, is selling to other retail outlets other than just sporting goods stores. Spyder products are being sold in stores such as Macy?s and Marshall Field?s. The move does require ?careful management of the channels in regard to the demand,? Jacobs noted.

? Finally, retailers are moving more toward selling top brands rather than in-house private labels, again helping a top brand like Spyder. Spyder says it has about 550 specialty retailers in the United States and Canada, and its ski wear is sold internationally through a subsidiary to 41 countries.

Top-brand sportswear manufacturers like Spyder, Jacobs explained, have to be careful that the move to more mass-market retailers does not hurt its pricing and brand image. ?You don?t want to lose the specialty market,? he said.

As Spyder has increased its overall retail presence, it has developed new brands that include Stryke and snowboard brands such as Section and Legion. Those brands are positioned at a lower price, perhaps $100 to $199 for a ski jacket, compared to the higher-end Spyder jacket starting at $250 to $275.

Spyder has been very successful at building its brand through athlete sponsorship and is the official supplier to the U.S. Alpine, U.S. Disabled, Canadian Alpine and Canadian Freestyle ski teams. More recently, the company signed on to sponsor the Austria Ski Team for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

With about 75 employees total and 55 in Boulder, Spyder last year doubled its space here, moving into a 26,000-square-foot office.

Jacobs said Spyder has relationships with manufacturers in China and the Orient that have been in place for the past 20 years, and the company maintains an office in Thailand so there is no problem keeping up with the increase in sales.

BOULDER ? Boulder?s entrepreneurial skiwear designer and manufacturer Spyder Active Sports Inc. is looking for a buyer or investor, according to media reports.

Neither Laura Wisner, media manager, nor the company?s founder and president, David Jacobs, would comment on the news, which first was reported by The Daily Deal. The New-York based financial paper reported that New York investment banking firm Financo Inc. and Wachovia Securities have been hired by Spyder to find possible buyers.

Jacobs did confirm to The Boulder County Business Report that his company has experienced a surge in revenues, from almost $40 million in fiscal year 2002…

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