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Helsinki Slugger: Famed Louisville Bat Maker Sold

The nation’s most iconic baseball bat manufacturer has been sold to a Finland-based company for $70 million, reports say.

Hillerich & Bradsby Co. of Louisville, Kentucky has been making its famed Louisville Slugger wood bats for over 130 years. But now the company will be turning out its iconic bats for the Wilson Sporting Goods Company, now owned by a company in Helsinki.

The well-known oval marking on Louisville Sluggers have been seen on ball diamonds across the country for generations. Famed players such as Babe Ruth and Ted Williams used Louisville Sluggers to launch balls over fences and them into stardom.

Wilson says that won’t change, despite the sale of the company to a foreign-owned corporation. But it is yet another example of an iconic brand being sold to a foreign-owned corporation. If H & B shareholders approve the deal, the company will manufacture its wood bats exclusively for Wilson Sporting Goods. The bat company will stay based in Kentucky and will continue to operate its Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and Gift Shop, a popular tourist stop.

H & B’s Bionic Gloves division and Powerbilt golf brand are reportedly not part of the deal with Wilson Sports. Wilson Sporting Goods is owned by Amer Sports Oyj, a company based in Helsinki, Finland’s capital city.

The company operates in 30 countries with its main markets in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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