AstroTurf Sale to SportGroup Finalized

sports-groupAll Brand Logo - AstroTurf APT

Dalton, GA, August 19, 2016 – The sale of AstroTurf® to SportGroup® Holdings has closed, creating arguably the largest outdoor sports surfacing company in the world.  The sale was approved on Friday, August 12, 2016 and closed Friday, August 19, 2016.  AstroTurf products and services will be marketed by the newly formed company AstroTurf Corporation.  By adding AstroTurf, SYNlawn®, and the related manufacturing operations to its portfolio of companies and brands (which includes Polytan®, APT®, Melos®, Rekortan®, Laykold® and Poligras®), SportGroup is well positioned to continue its global leadership of the sports surfacing industry.

SportGroup, founded in 1969, is a global leader in artificial turf systems and running tracks.  Prior to the acquisition of AstroTurf and related turf entities, SportGroup reported a >€340 million annual turnover (2015) and around 1,000 employees. The company maintains production plants in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region and operates in more than 70 countries. It has manufactured and installed more than 7,000 fields and 16,000 tracks. It is a supplier of synthetic turf fields to the Olympic Games, including Rio (2016).

This acquisition enhances SportGroup and AstroTurf’s strength, size, stability, and manufacturing capacity, positioning the team for rapid growth.  The purchase provides SportGroup direct access to North American athletic turf customers through AstroTurf, a proven American brand with a 50 year history. AstroTurf will play a leading role in SportGroup’s go to market strategy for North America and beyond.

SportGroup will retain all AstroTurf’s technologies, processes, products, intellectual property, and personnel. Adding AstroTurf to the portfolio of SportGroup brands and companies brings greater stability to sports facilities and the industry as a whole.

“We are welcoming AstroTurf to our team,” stated Andreas M. Schulze Ising, CEO & President of APT Advanced Polymer Technology Corp., “to create the only all encompassing sport systems company in the world to finally service each and every sport with the complete range of surface solutions.”

“Becoming a SportGroup company elevates the AstroTurf brand and enables us to bring even more innovations to market,” said, Heard Smith, Chief Executive Officer of AstroTurf and the rest of the Turf Division.  “The union of these brands ushers in the next era of sophisticated sports surfacing for today’s highly trained athletes.”

AstroTurf and other SportGroup companies together forge a team of sports surfacing experts that is focused on introducing the most cutting edge technologies. The alliance fosters global cooperation in research and development initiatives and offers more benefits to clients, including:

  • More FIFA, FIH, and World Rugby-certified systems and pitches than ever before
  • Highly evolved American Football turf systems selections
  • Top-tier Olympic and World Cup field hockey surfaces
  • Industry-leading baseball and softball systems
  • More RootZone® products and installations than any other provider on the market
  • Legendary running track brands from APT, including Rekortan®
  • Largest and most efficient installation force worldwide
  • Leading EPDM rubber manufacturing from Melos
  • Leading tennis court surface systems from APT, including Laykold®
  • Most advanced “green” technologies from APT, including TuftGuard® and Qualipur® adhesives

Frank Dittrich, Chief Executive Officer of SportGroup, noted, “AstroTurf is perhaps the most iconic brand in sports.  It adds tremendous value to SportGroup and its future as the global leader in outdoor sports surfacing.”

AstroTurf® fields will continue to be manufactured in the United States in the company’s own vertically integrated, advanced manufacturing facilities, which now benefit from expanded capacity since the acquisition.  In addition, all employees will remain with the organization, providing stability for clients and distributors.

About SportGroup®

SportGroup® is a worldwide market leader of outdoor sport and recreational surface systems. SportGroup® installs artificial turf fields and tracks and manufactures all system critical components in-house. SportGroup® has three main product groups (artificial turf, engineered surfaces including running track systems and playground as well as industrial products including adhesives and coatings through APT) used in a variety of applications. The business benefits from its unique system competence, leading technology and its unique global market position. For more information, visit www.sportgroup-holding.com and www.advpolytech.com.

About AstroTurf®

For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf® has redefined the way the game is played. The brand offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety.  To learn more, visit the company’s recently redesigned website, www.astroturf.com.

Judge Approves Astro Turf Sale

Stech, Katy (2016, August 15) Judge Approves $16 Million Astro Turf Sale. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/

All Brand Logo - AstroTurf APT

Judge Approves $16 Million AstroTurf Sale

Competitor APT Advanced Polymer Technology cleared to take over AstroTurf’s Georgia-based marketing operations

A bankruptcy judge has cleared a competitor of AstroTurf LLC to take over its Georgia-based marketing operations, which struggled after the company lost a $30 million patent dispute last year.

With his signature, Judge Paul Bonapfel approved the roughly $16.1 million sale agreement between AstroTurf and an affiliate of APT Advanced Polymer Technology Corp., a competitor based outside of Pittsburgh.

AstroTurf lawyers proposed to sell the Dalton, Ga., company, which markets and sells artificial turf products to university athletic departments and sports facilities, after putting its operations into chapter 11 protection on June 28.

The filing halted its legal battle with another competitor, FieldTurf USA Inc. FieldTurf officials accused AstroTurf of infringing on its patent for artificial turf products in a 2010 federal lawsuit. In October, a jury awarded $30 million in damages to FieldTurf.

“The patent litigation and adverse publicity regarding the verdict have caused substantial disruption to the business,” AstroTurf lawyers said in earlier documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rome, Ga. “FieldTurf and [AstroTurf] compete almost daily for customers and new business, and the [company] believes that FieldTurf is using the patent litigation to deter potential customers from entering into contracts…for the purchase and installation of synthetic turf surfaces.”

The court-approved sale is part of a broader, $92.5 million deal that enables APT Advanced Polymer Technology to take over three AstroTurf-related businesses that haven’t filed for bankruptcy protection. That includes its research and development division and Synthetic Turf Resources, which manufactures the athletic turf.

The four businesses are owned by Textile Management Associates Inc., which holds a majority stake.

In court papers, AstroTurf called itself a “leading innovator” in the industry for synthetic turf, which was invented in 1964. Founded in 2003, AstroTurf became popular through sponsorship agreements it made with athletic conferences and sports organizations, enabling the company to pay an annual fee in exchange for the exposure.

AstroTurf officials said it relies on a network of sales people and distributors who negotiate the exclusive rights to sell AstroTurf products in a geographic area. AstroTurf itself employed 54 people at the time of the filing.

*The full article is available at http://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-approves-16-million-astroturf-sale-1471286131