TaylorMade Golf Company will begin the process of separating from adidas Group, beginning on Friday on the path to becoming two distinct companies.
David Abeles, President and CEO of TaylorMade Golf Company, made the announcement to employees in a video on Thursday night, according to sources who viewed the announcement. The formal separation of the companies begins March 31. The two-step process will begin with the planning of a formal separation and conclude with a divestiture phase. Abeles said both phases should take approximately 90 days to complete, with the processes formally wrapping by Oct. 1.
There's much that remains unclear about this separation -- first and foremost, if TaylorMade has a new owner and, if so, what are that new owner's plans for the company.
adidas Group announced in May 2016 its intention to sell off parts of its golf division, including TaylorMade, almost 20 years after purchasing the company from prior owner Salomon S.A. in 1997, Adams and Ashworth.
Under the separation, adidas Golf will remain in Carlsbad, Calif. Organizationally speaking, the adidas Golf group will fall under the sporting group within adidas Group, likely leading to even more integration and collaboration between other sporting units, like soccer and basketball. In recent years, features from other adidas footwear lines, including Boost foam, have found their way into adidas Golf footwear. This integration is a two-way street, and it could mean further use of Boa closure systems in adidas footwear as the partnership between the two companies deepens.
As for TaylorMade, the company has released its 2017 line of M equipment to acclaim, and their new TP5 line of golf balls have been a winner on pro tours on the back of the No. 1 player in the world, Dustin Johnson, who re-signed to deals with TaylorMade and adidas Golf, and rock-star pro Jon Rahm. The company also has contracts with Jason Day, who re-signed with TaylorMade last year, as well Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, who is wearing adidas Golf clothing on Tour, and others in smaller deals. In a coup, TaylorMade revealed at the PGA Merchandise Show in January that they had signed Tiger Woods to an endorsement deal with the company that includes the prospect of creating specific equipment for the 14-time major winner.
It's not clear what will happen to Adams Golf and Ashworth. Adams Golf hasn't offered a new product since the Blue line in 2015. Ashworth continues to produce clothing, albeit quietly. The company's website recently had what amounted to a clearance sale of its inventory.