Sportco Announces Merger, Jettisons Apparel Lines

Will Focus Solely On Decoration For Promotional Product Distributors

Sportco Announces Merger, Jettisons Apparel LinesSportco LLC (asi/88792) will merge with Skyline Screenprinting & Embroidery Inc., the companies announced last week. The merger will take place later this year, and the new company (whose name will be announced once the merger is complete) will focus solely on decoration for promotional product distributors and team dealers. As a result, Sportco is phasing out its apparel offerings, including the Sportco authentic fleece and Gabrielle Rohde Royce women’s corporate lines.

“This merger will create a truly full-service, one-stop shop for apparel decoration,” said Sportco Vice President Joe Baum. He added: “With our recent investments in new equipment, and a new strategic focus on decoration, we’ll be the single go-to partner for all our clients’ contract decoration needs.”

Baum cited Skyline’s expertise with athletic printing as a major factor behind the move. “I’m proud to join forces with Sportco,” said Skyline President Carl Mucha. “Both companies have long been committed to unsurpassed quality and service, so it’s a great fit. Together, we can service all facets of the promotional product distributor and team businesses, from simulated four-color process to athletic uniform names and numbers.”

Sportco says it has put its remaining apparel inventory on clearance while it sells through its current stock. Gabrielle Rohde, the creator of the Gabrielle Rhode Royce and Gabi Sport lines, told Counselor that the intellectual property of the lines will revert to her on October 31. “It wasn’t part of the discussion that I would purchase the inventory or have the chance for anyone else to purchase the inventory,” said Rohde, the former executive vice president of Sportco’s apparel division, who says she was let go from the company on August 1. “But I did ask for it and I did get the intellectual property back.”

Rohde said she has no current plans for the line. Sportco confirmed that its parent company, the Thatcher Corporation, currently owns the Gabrielle Rohde Royce labels.

Current customers of Sportco and Skyline are advised to continue to place orders at normal, as the companies will still be operating at full capacity through the merger. The new company will relocate to a facility in Naperville, IL, later this year. Financial terms of the deal were not released.