Sale closes for Martin Archery; transition in progress

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A closing date for the sale of Martin Archery’s assets was right on target.

Los Angeles-based private equity firm Diversis Capital LLC completed its acquisition of the longtime Walla Walla archery company’s assets last week and has begun its transition to revive the financially ailing company.

“Diversis is assembling a team of industry executives, several of whom will be joining over the coming year, to grow the business and continue to provide top-notch products to the archery industry,” said Diversis Capital Managing Director Kevin Ma in a statement.

“This acquisition will create new jobs in the community as we elevate Martin Archery to new levels of success.”

Among the first major hires is Rich Weatherford, the new chief executive officer of Martin Sports Inc.

“I am pleased to be working with Diversis Capital on the successful transformation of Martin Archery, and demonstrating that the Martin brand is still vibrant,” he said in a prepared statement.

Diversis specializes in acquisitions of controlling interests in “mature businesses,” according to an announcement from the company.

That particularly includes businesses in distress or in need of operational assistance.

Capital behind Diversis’s acquisitions comes from Marc Luzzatto, who built a career in law, finance, private equity and senior executive management and now heads The Luzzatto Company and is a principal and partner in several others.

He serves on the board of directors for The Luzzatto Company’s largest client, The Welk Group Inc., which is the Lawrence Welk family holding company.

“This is an important transaction for Diversis as an emerging private equity firm,” said Diversis Managing Director Ron Nayot in a statement.

“We anticipate showcasing our operational expertise and turnaround capabilities. We look forward to continuing to identify and capture additional opportunities.”

As part of the retention strategy for Martin Archery, Walla Walla’s globally known bow and bow accessories manufacturing firm, the Port of Walla Walla purchased the Heritage Road property where the plant has operated more than 60 years.

The Port bought the 4.67-acre property for $1.3 million.

The economic development agency then entered into a 10-year lease with Diversis after the California company paid the Port the first year’s rent — $88,000 — in advance as a surety deposit.

“Walla Walla has been home to the iconic Martin Archery brand for more than 60 years and we are delighted to continue this important legacy in our community,” said Port Commission President Paul Schneidmiller.

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