Rawlings to buy Easton, create baseball and softball giant

©St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Rawlings baseball glove of David Bote #13 of the Chicago Cubs during a Cactus League spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on Feb. 27, 2020 in Surprise, AZ. - Ralph Freso/Getty Images North America/TNS

TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. — Rawlings Sporting Goods Inc. announced on Tuesday it has agreed to buy Easton Diamond Sports, a merger of two of the country’s top softball and baseball sporting goods companies.

The companies said the purchase will strengthen both brands, drive product innovation, allow for larger investments, grow talent, and expand customization options for players.

“The Easton and Rawlings brands complement each other exceptionally well and will deliver an improved value proposition to all stakeholders, including teams, players, coaches, dealers and associations throughout the industry,” said Dan Jelinek, president of Easton, based in Thousand Oaks, California.

Peak Acheivement Athletics Inc., owners of ice hockey equipment maker Bauer Hockey, among other brands, owns Easton.

Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles-based private equity firm Seidler Equity Partners bought Rawlings two years ago for about $395 million.

Founded in St. Louis in 1887, Rawlings makes baseballs, gloves and other sports gear. In 2018, it had an annual revenue of $330 million.

Rawlings is MLB’s official supplier of baseballs, gloves, faceguards and helmets.

Easton is a leading bat supplier to the industry, the company said, and has long-established partnerships with Little League Baseball and Softball.

In late March, prompted by the coronavirus-induced delays to baseball activities, Rawlings told the state it planned to furlough 130 workers at its facility in Washington, Missouri, about an hour west of St. Louis, and 140 corporate office employees at its Town and Country headquarters.

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©2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch