* RBC, CIBC to lead underwriters on the deal
* Bauer is one of Canada’s oldest hockey equipment makers
* IPO comes as markets stabilize, companies eye growth
* Deal for 20 pct of Bauer values company at C$375 mln
By Pav Jordan
TORONTO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Bauer Performance Sports, a maker of hockey equipment in Canada for more than 80 years, aims to raise at least C$75 million ($75 million) in an initial public stock offering expected to close by early March, a source said on Friday.
The company is the world’s largest global supplier of hockey equipment, with a 45 percent market share globally in terms of sales in fiscal 2010.
In a prospectus filed to SEDAR, the Canadian document filing system for companies, Bauer said it would use the proceeds to purchase a 100 percent stake in Kohlberg Sports Group Inc for an unspecified amount.
The terms of the IPO were not disclosed, but a source with knowledge of the offering said Bauer would list a 20 percent stake on the Toronto Stock Exchange, valuing the company at some C$375 million.
Bauer Hockey was founded in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1927 and developed the first skate with a blade attached to a boot, an innovation credited with changing the game of ice hockey.
Renamed Bauer Performance Sports for the IPO, the company previously known as Bauer Hockey competes Reebok, a unit of Germany’s Adidas (ADSGn.DE) that makes the CCM brand, and Easton-Bell Sports, which makes Easton hockey equipment.
The company was owned for about a decade by Nike (NKE.N) before being sold to the Kohlberg & Co private equity group in 2008.
The offering comes at a time when the market for initial public offerings is coming to life again in North America as companies laid low by the global recession look to grow again.
Private equity is expected to be particularly active in the region this year as funds exit investments made four and five years ago.
The offering is being made through a syndicate of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets and CIBC, and includes BMO Capital Markets, Scotia Capital Inc, TD Securities Inc, and Macquarie Capital Markets Canada.
Bauer Performance Sports markets sports equipment under the Bauer Hockey, Mission Roller Hockey and Maverik Lacrosse brands. ($1=1 Canadian dollar)
Reporting by Pav Jordan; Editing by Frank McGurty