Decathlon has reached an agreement to acquire Dita, the Dutch brand of field hockey sticks, shoes and bags, from All Weather Sports. The financial details of the transaction have not been unveiled. The takeover does not entirely exclude All Weather Sports, which will retain control over the distribution of Dita products to hockey specialist stores. The Dutch company, which also owns the Nomad brand of outdoor products, will also take care of brand development and sponsorships.
Field hockey is big in the Netherlands, but it has potential for greater development internationally through Decathlon. The acquisition enables Decathlon to further expand its offer in the sport of hockey, but the French sporting goods retailer will continue to work with other hockey brands as well. The retailer also has its own dedicated hockey brand, called Korok.
Dita, headquartered in the Utrecht area, is the world's oldest field hockey brand. It was founded in 1891, concurrently with the inception of the game of hockey. It has incorporated 3D and carbon technology in its sticks lately. Decathlon was already selling the Dutch brand's products before the acquisition, including special editions for sticks and shoes as part of a jointly developed range.
All Weather Sports serves more than 600 retailers in nearly 30 countries with the Dita and Nomad brands. The group is owned by an equity investment firm, MerkGoed, that took over Dita in 2015. It was contemplating further acquisitions in the sports sector after the takeover of The Nomad Company in the summer of 2018 and the subsequent appointment of a new management, but the story has developed the other way around.
As for Decathlon, which has a strong and growing position in the Dutch sports retail market, the takeover of Dita is the latest in a series of new acquisitions and yet another step in the verticalization of its business.