The Riverside Company, one of the largest global private equity firms investing in companies with enterprise values up to €200 million, announces its acquisition of Arena Group, worldwide player in the competitive aquawear segment, from Italian fund BS Private Equity. This is Riverside’s first deal in Italy and 14th acquisition in 2010 and is part of the Riverside Europe Fund IV (REF IV).

Cristiano Portas, CEO of Arena Group, and Arena’s top management team confirmed their commitment to the company by reinvesting alongside Riverside in the new venture. "We are very thankful to BS Private Equity for the strong support given to Arena in the development of the brand and the business. We are also extremely confident towards the future, as we truly believe that Riverside will be an outstanding partner, able to support Arena in its further growth aiming at becoming the global leader in the aquawear sports market."

"We are extremely satisfied with the business and financial results achieved by Arena over the last four years," said Alessandra Gavirati, Partner at BS Private Equity. "Arena is an attractive investment opportunity for Riverside thanks to its strong brand position, its image among top athletes and millions of water sport lovers all over the world, a very successful track record, and a huge growth potential," commented Tomasz Glowacki, Riverside Partner.

Arena products are distributed in over 100 countries worldwide, including those managed by the Descente Group based in Japan, the trademark owner for the Far East. Established by sports visionary Horst Dassler in 1973 (son of Adidas founder, Adi Dassler), Arena is well-known for its focus and product innovation and technological skills which are the key drivers for its competitive advantage and business growth. In 2009, Arena generated a net sales of about €100 million.

The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm. Since its founding in 1988, the firm has invested in 237 transactions with a total enterprise value of more than $5.4 billion/€4.4 billion. The firm’s portfolio in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region includes 72 companies with roughly 14,000 employees.