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Big new deal for Taylor Made

TaylorMade-adidas Golf parent Adidas-Salomon AG has won the exclusive rights to license and distribute Dunlop Slazenger Group Ltd.'s Maxfli and Slazenger golf brands, company officials have announced.

Dunlop Slazenger, in turn, will buy TaylorMade's golf ball production facility and take over manufacturing and supply responsibilities for the Maxfli, Slazenger and TaylorMade balls. This move ends Adidas' efforts to get into the golf ball business. For the past several years, Taylor Made has tried to make inroads into the highly competitive ball market with its InerGel line of balls but met with little success.

The deal to license the Maxfli and Slazenger ball brands makes TMaG an immediate major player in the ball market, particularly with the Maxfli brand that includes the Revolution line of golf balls. Maxfli's new Noodle golf ball, which sold well in test markets this fall, is expected to make its formal debut at the PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 24-27 in Orlando.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf strengthens its presence as a fully-integrated golf company offering products with leading positions in all major golf categories. Adidas-Salomon is already the world's second-biggest sportswear and equipment maker by sales after Nike.

In particular, the company will grow its position in golf balls, which currently represents about 25 percent of the global $6 billion golf market. Through its integration of Maxfli and Slazenger balls, TMaG will control a U.S. market share of 8 percent, officials said.

For Dunlop Slazenger, this agreement allows the group to focus on its core golf competencies: manufacturing, and research and development. The deal also provides DSGL with additional exposure through TMaG's global distribution capacity and promotional tour strength.

Combining production of the Maxfli, Slazenger and TaylorMade brands at Dunlop Slazenger would yield cost savings as a result of economies of scale, they added. Both companies could see higher sales as a result of the agreement, which takes effect on Jan. 1, they added.

In the deal, Adidas-Salomon also receives a 15-month option to buy the Maxfli brand and to acquire an unlimited exclusive free license to sell and develop Slazenger golf products.

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