J. W. Childs Associates Acquires Cycle Gear


J.W. Childs Associates, L.P., an established private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts and recapitalizations of middle-market growth companies, today announced it has acquired a majority interest in Cycle Gear, Inc., a leading provider of motorcycle apparel, parts and accessories, from Harvest Partners, LP. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Concurrent with this transaction, William E. Watts, a Partner at J.W. Childs, will assume the role of Chairman of Cycle Gear. David Bertram, Cycle Gear’s Founding Chairman, will retire from day-to-day executive management of the company but will remain on the Board of Directors. Peter Laughton, a long-time Director of Cycle Gear and industry veteran, will also remain on the Board. Tracy Wan, a seasoned specialty retail executive who joined Cycle Gear in 2009 as Chief Operating Officer, is being promoted to President and joining the Board of Directors. Tracy will assume executive leadership of the business.

“Partnering with an experienced investment firm like J.W. Childs is a logical next step in the evolution of Cycle Gear,” said Mr. Bertram. “I’m confident that under their stewardship we will accelerate the company’s growth. It’s been an honor working with an incredible team of passionate motorcyclists and retail professionals to grow Cycle Gear into a dominant force in the motorcycle industry. I look forward to my continued participation on the Board of Directors.”

Also in connection with the acquisition by J.W. Childs, Joseph Fortunato, a long-time specialty retail executive and CEO of GNC from 2005 to 2014 will join the Board as Lead Director and consultant.

“Tracy has played a key role in Cycle Gear’s recent success and I look forward to working directly with her and the senior management team to further extend the Company’s leadership position,” said Mr. Fortunato. “Having led GNC through dramatic growth as both a private equity-owned and public company, I’m excited and confident about Cycle Gear’s potential.”

“Cycle Gear has the leading omni-channel footprint in the motorcycle accessories category and we see significant market opportunity for the company,” said Mr. Watts. “This investment is a perfect fit with J.W. Childs’ long-term strategy of investing in leading specialty retailers and we look forward to helping guide this next phase of Cycle Gear’s growth. We are delighted Dave and Peter are remaining on the Board and thrilled that Joe will make his substantial experience available to Cycle Gear as we look to create meaningful value.”

Kaye Scholer LLP provided legal counsel to J.W. Childs. White & Case LLP provided legal counsel and Piper Jaffray and Financo served as financial advisors to Cycle Gear.

About Cycle Gear, Inc.

Founded in 1974, Cycle Gear is the only omni-channel national retailer dedicated to motorsports riders and enthusiasts. The company operates 112 stores in 34 states, has a significant and growing online business, and distributes more than 13 million catalogs annually. Cycle Gear is known for a differentiated store experience, with retail locations designed for and staffed by motorcycle enthusiasts, and is highly engaged with its customer base, sponsoring more than 1,000 bike nights and over 150 events and community rides annually. Cycle Gear is headquartered in Benicia, California. For more information, visit

About J.W. Childs Associates, L.P.

J.W. Childs is a Boston-based private equity firm focused on investing in middle-market growth companies. Since inception in 1995, J.W. Childs has invested $3 billion of equity capital in more than 40 best-in-class companies across the consumer, specialty retail and healthcare industries. The firm’s success has been built on its industry focus and the extensive operating expertise of its partners. For more information, please visit

About Harvest Partners

Founded in 1981, Harvest Partners, LP is a leading New York-based private equity investment firm pursuing management buyouts and recapitalizations of middle market companies in North America. Harvest focuses on acquiring profitable companies in the industrial and energy services, manufacturing and distribution, consumer and business services, and healthcare services sectors. This strategy leverages Harvest’s 30 plus years of experience in financing organic and acquisition-oriented growth companies. For more information, please visit

Philip Nunes
BackBay Communications
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