Baseball bats and gloves are a natural fit, and now they will be a business pair, too.
Wilson Sporting Goods Co., the official glove supplier for Major League Baseball, announced Monday that it has bought Louisville Slugger, the official bat of Major League Baseball.
The $70 million deal is pending approval by shareholders of Hillerich & Bradsby, the parent of Louisville Slugger.
Under the terms of the agreement, wood bats will continue to be made at the downtown Louisville plant. The highly successful Louisville Slugger Museum and gift shop in downtown Louisville will remain open. H&B's Bionic Gloves division and Powerbilt golf brand are not part of the agreement with Wilson.
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John A. Hillerich IV, CEO of H&B, said the decision to sell was difficult.
"The Hillerich family, and those closest to the brand, firmly believes that a new business model is necessary to realize the enormous potential of this brand in the future," Hillerich said. "We recognized from our first conversation with Wilson that they would be a great partner and steward of the brand our family created and so many have nurtured for 131 years."
Mike Dowse, president of Wilson, said the purchase was part of a play to grow its baseball and softball business globally. "H&B has created one of the most recognizable baseball brands in the world," Dowse said."