Wilson buys Louisville Slugger brand

wright louisville slugger
Mets star David Wright with his Louisville Slugger bat.

Wilson Sporting Goods is buying the Louisville Slugger brand of baseball bats for $70 million, marrying two of the leading brands in baseball just weeks before the new season starts.

It's a perfect match, since Louisville Slugger is the official bat of Major League Baseball and Wilson is the league's official glove.

Hillerich & Bradsby, the family-owned business that has made the bats for more than 130 years, will continue to make them for Wilson at its Louisville factory. Wilson is a unit of Finish sporting goods company Amer Sports (AGPDY).

Wood bats are only a small fraction of the market though, used mostly by professional baseball leagues. Amateur players in school and recreational leagues generally use aluminum or composite graphite bats that cost hundreds of dollars more than wood bats.

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John Hillerich IV, the CEO of the company, said the decision to sell the brand was difficult for the family, but that it could no longer compete with major global sporting goods manufacturers.

babe ruth louisville slugger
Babe Ruth with a Louisville Slugger bat.

"We believe this can create more opportunities to ensure that the [Louisville Slugger] brand endures for the next 130 years," he said.

Wilson also makes the official NFL football, which it manufacturers in Ohio.

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