Wheeled-sneaker maker Heelys sells itself to private equity firm

Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:08am EDT

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(Reuters) - Heelys Inc HLYS.O, the maker of children's sneakers with wheels in them, is selling itself to a private equity firm, Evergreen Group Ventures, after suffering years of fading sales and a sliding share price.

The value of Heelys, once worth more than $1 billion as children flocked to its shoes, had faded to a market value of just over $50 million at Monday's close on the Nasdaq, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The shares jumped 24 percent in premarket trade on light volume after the sale was announced in a regulatory filing. (r.reuters.com/vym53t)

Heelys' quarterly sales peaked at $74 million in 2007, not long after the firm listed in December 2006, but were just under $6 million in the second quarter this year.

Evergreen is to buy the operating assets for $13.9 million in cash and the sneaker maker will then be liquidated.

Excluded from the sale is cash and marketable securities held by Heelys, which it said totaled $58.2 million as at June 30.

Shares of the company, which traded above $30 when they listed in 2006, closed at $1.85 on Monday on the Nasdaq.

The deal gives Heelys 30 days to receive better offers.

(Reporting by Arpita Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Rodney Joyce)

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