Canyon has announced new investment led by US basketball megastar LeBron James’s LRMR Ventures.
According to Canyon’s press release, James and his business partner and longtime friend Maverick Carter are “bike enthusiasts and fans of the Canyon brand.”
Canyon’s chief executive Nicolas de Ros Wallace told the Financial Times: “LeBron is one of the biggest athletes globally and he truly cares about cycling.” He called the involvement of James with Canyon “the perfect match”.
The FT reports that the stake in Canyon sold to LRMR and a US-based private equity firm called SC Holdings is 4% and $30 million. Last year the company sold a 52% majority stake to Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL).
Canyon’s founder, Roman Arnold, said: “While we were not actively looking for new investors, LRMR and the SC team immediately understood our mission to build the world’s most inspiring and innovative bike company. Their passion for what we are building will make them instrumental members of our team.”
According to Canyon’s press release, the brand will work with LRMR and SC to increase engagement in the US and in the e-bike category, elevate global brand awareness and deliver the best online shopping experience.
“As an avid cyclist and storyteller, I’m excited about partnering with Canyon,” said Maverick Carter. “The quality of the products, the power of the Canyon brand, and the unique distribution model create a lot of compelling opportunities we want to be a part of.”
Clearly investors are betting on the bike boom continuing, although Canyon, like the majority of global bike brands, is still suffering from the supply-chain issues that the bike boom has brought with it since the start of the pandemic.
De Ros Wallace told the FT: “The supply problems are getting better, but in many, many products we’re still sold out.”
LeBron James, 37, is estimated by Forbes to be the first active NBA player to become a billionaire. Michael Jordan, the only other basketball billionaire, didn’t hit 10 figures until 2014, by which time he had been retired for over a decade.
James took a minority stake in Liverpool FC when he and Carter went into partnership with Fenway Sports Group, which bought Liverpool in 2010. According to Forbes, FSG accounts for $90 million of his fortune. It also owns the Boston Red Sox.
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