Company sale The Sportswear Company

The Sports­wear Compa­ny GmbH & Co. KG - Compa­ny sale

Company sale Sportswear Company GmbH

About the company 

The The Sports­wear Compa­ny GmbH & CO.KG was founded in 1993 by Gabrie­le Ludwig with the aim of estab­li­shing the highest quali­ty cashme­re fashion in combi­na­ti­on with a unique function­al fabric in the Europe-wide fashion premi­um segment. In the begin­ning, more than 150 pro-shops in Europe’s leading golf clubs were equip­ped with a high-quali­ty jumper ? collec­tion. At the same time, whole-sale distri­bu­ti­on was started in the D-A-CH region and also, for examp­le, in Japan. Over 4,000 pieces were sold in the first three years.

The ‘Highlan­der’ collec­tion soon achie­ved nation­wi­de signi­fi­can­ce. In 2003, the sponta­neous idea of opera­ting a pop-up ? Store in Kampen on the island of Sylt, became a perma­nent commit­ment in a prime location.

Basics webinar presen­ted by Nils Koerber

Compa­ny sale (M&A) without risk and loss of value

Today, the collec­tion consists of jackets and pullovers for men and women, as well as various matching access­ories made of the very best cashme­re, in combi­na­ti­on with the function­al fabric typical of ‘Highlan­der’. Over 3,500 top-class custo­mer addres­ses testi­fy to the inter­na­tio­nal fame and popula­ri­ty of the products.

The task 

The sole owner, Mrs. Gabrie­le Ludwig, who had alrea­dy been Manager of the Year in 1995, was seeking a compa­ny succes­si­on due to her age. A genera­ti­on change within the family was out of the question.

Parti­cu­lar­ly for health reasons, the business has recent­ly incre­asing­ly concen­tra­ted on the high-calib­re cliente­le on Sylt. Sales activi­ties beyond the island of Sylt have had to be scaled back in recent years. Nevert­hel­ess, the concept and the high quali­ty of the goods conti­nue to enjoy great popularity.

Since the long-term rental contract in Kampen on Sylt defini­te­ly expired on 31.12.2020 and there was no renewal option (except at signi­fi­cant­ly higher, unaccep­ta­ble rental condi­ti­ons), it was neces­sa­ry to find a succes­sor to awaken the once so well-known brand from its ‘Sleeping Beauty’ slumber.

The unique fashion concept needed a new start. The most renow­ned inter­na­tio­nal fashion groups showed little interest, as they themsel­ves are current­ly strugg­ling with the rapidly changing fashion business.

It was a questi­on of finding a succes­sor who recog­nis­ed the poten­ti­al of the brand and the collec­tion and who was willing and able to bring ‘Highlan­der’ back to its former glory as the ‘pearl in an oyster’ - with the corre­spon­ding compe­tence in the areas of sales, marke­ting, the new social media channels and online marketing.

What the client says about the project

Ms Gabrie­le Ludwig::

Although I have many contacts in the inter­na­tio­nal fashion business, I would not have been able to present the poten­ti­al of my brand ‘Highlan­der’ world­wi­de in such a profes­sio­nal way.

With his decades of experi­ence as an entre­pre­neur in lifestyle retail, also in the fashion indus­try, his patience and diplo­ma­cy, Mr. Klaus-Chris­ti­an Knuff­mann from KERN-Unternehmens­nachfolge was always a compe­tent contact person for me who unders­tood the spirit and poten­ti­al of my brand from day one.

It is thanks to KERN’s large inter­na­tio­nal network that I have found a visio­na­ry, fashion-savvy succes­sor in Mr Kneisel.

I was happy to entrust my baby ‘Highlan­der’ to Mr Knuff­mann and his team, convin­ced that KERN would find someone who recog­nis­ed the hidden treasu­re in my idea and collec­tion. With Mr Kneisel from FAIRWAY Golf-Shop GmbH & Co.KG it is now in the very best hands.”

About the buyer

Mr. Stefan Kneisel, a quali­fied banker, has been the owner of the FAIRWAY Golf-Shop GmbH & Co. KG in Pulheim near Cologne, a specia­list suppli­er of every­thing to do with golf covering more than 1,500 m². The FAIRWAY Golf Shop is one of the largest statio­na­ry suppli­ers of golf products in Germany.

The Highlan­der brand is an ideal fit for his product portfo­lio. With the know-how of his team in the area of B-to-C business, ?Highlan­der? will soon be found again at the leading addres­ses in golf and online in spring 2021, follo­wing a planned relaunch of the brand.