J.W. Childs forms holding company for motorcycle retailers

J.W. Childs Associates LP closed an investment in Comoto Holdings Inc, a new holding company formed in partnership with the founders and equity holders of RevZilla Motorsports LLC. Comoto will have equity investments in both RevZilla and Cycle Gear Inc, two retailers of apparel, accessories and parts for motorcycle riders. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


BOSTON, MA, March 15, 2016 — Investment funds managed by J.W. Childs Associates, L.P. today announced the recent closing of an investment in a newly formed holding company, Comoto Holdings, Inc., dedicated to motorcycle enthusiasts alongside the founders and equity holders of RevZilla Motorsports, LLC.  Comoto Holdings will have equity investments in both RevZilla and Cycle Gear, Inc., two of the nation’s leading retailers of apparel, accessories and parts for motorcycle enthusiasts.  The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

RevZilla and Cycle Gear will continue to operate as independent sister companies with headquarters in Philadelphia, PA and Benicia, CA, respectively.  Joseph M. Fortunato, former CEO and Chairman of GNC, will be Executive Chairman of the new company. Mr. Fortunato commented, “I’m extremely excited to work with Cycle Gear and RevZilla, two of the industry’s leading companies, both led by fantastic management teams, to accelerate their growth.  We will leverage each team’s respective consumer insights and complementary skills in delivering a best-in-class experience to the motorcycle enthusiast.”

Mr. Fortunato will serve on the Board of Directors of Comoto Holdings as Executive Chairman, alongside several executives from J.W. Childs and two of the RevZilla founders, Anthony Bucci, CEO, and Matt Kull, COO.  Mr. Bucci, Mr. Kull, and RevZilla founder Nick Auger will maintain their current executive positions along with the management team at Cycle Gear.

“Matt, Nick and I are thrilled about our new ownership in Comoto and the opportunity to complement our digital leadership and expertise with the seasoned leadership and retail acumen that Joe and J.W. Childs possess,” said Anthony Bucci. “Moving forward, RevZilla will only accelerate its ability to advance the experience of motorcycle enthusiasts in new and expansive ways.”

“Cycle Gear and RevZilla are leaders in the motorsports industry through their brick and mortar and digital expertise, respectively, and the opportunity for J.W. Childs to participate in both markets as each improves the community interaction and shopping experience for their enthusiast customers is an exciting endeavor,” said Jeff Teschke, Partner of J.W. Childs. “The investment is a great fit with our strategy of investing in leading specialty retailers and consumer brands and we look forward to participating in this next phase of growth at both Cycle Gear and RevZilla.”

Cycle Gear, founded in 1974, is an omni-channel retailer dedicated to motorcycle riders and enthusiasts, operating 113 stores throughout the United States. Cycle Gear is far and away the largest brick and mortar retailer serving the motorsports category offering consumers a unique in-store experience staffed by motorcycle enthusiasts.  J.W. Childs acquired Cycle Gear in January 2015 with a strategic plan to build on the company’s long-standing reputation and loyal consumer base by accelerating Cycle Gear’s national retail presence, investing in an improved retail format and consumer experience, improving the merchandising assortment and availability of own and third-party branded products, and developing a best-in-class consumer experience at CycleGear.com.  Cycle Gear offers its consumers the industry’s best third-party brands along with a portfolio of significant proprietary brands including Bilt, Sedici, Street and Steel, Trackside and Stockton Tools.

RevZilla, founded in 2007 by Anthony Bucci, Nick Auger and Matt Kull, is a rapidly growing, eCommerce retailer that provides motorcycle enthusiasts with premium apparel, accessories, and parts. The company, with more than $100 million in annual sales, is the leading digital retailer in the motorsports accessories category, known for an award-winning customer service experience provided by its Gear Geeks, a leading edge technology and media platform, as well as premium editorial content and product reviews delivered through formats such as RevZilla TV, Common Tread and its authoritative Gear Guides.

Kaye Scholer LLP provided legal counsel and Piper Jaffray served as financial advisor to J.W. Childs and Cycle Gear.  Morgan, Lewis & Bockius provided legal counsel and Peter J. Solomon Company served as financial advisor to RevZilla.

About Cycle Gear
Founded in 1974, Cycle Gear is an omni-channel national retailer dedicated to motorsports riders and enthusiasts. The company operates 113 stores in 34 states, has a significant and growing online business, and distributes more than 13 million catalogs annually. Cycle Gear is known for a differentiated store experience, with retail locations designed for and staffed by motorcycle enthusiasts, and is highly engaged with its customer base, sponsoring more than 1,000 bike nights and over 150 events and community rides annually. Cycle Gear is headquartered in Benicia, California. For more information, visit www.cyclegear.com.

About J.W. Childs Associates, L.P.
J.W. Childs is a Boston-based private equity firm focused on investing in middle-market growth companies. Since inception in 1995, J.W. Childs has invested in excess of $3 billion of equity capital in more than 40 best-in-class companies across the consumer, specialty retail and healthcare industries. The firm’s success has been built on its industry focus and the extensive operating expertise of its partners. For more information, please visit www.jwchilds.com.

About RevZilla.com
With an award-winning customer experience powered by internally developed technology and content, RevZilla.com is the premiere online destination for the modern rider.  RevZilla was founded in 2007 by Anthony Bucci, Nick Auger and Matthew Kull when they recognized that their complementary skills in internet technology and marketing, coupled with a shared passion for motorcycles, lent itself well to developing new ways to serve the power sports industry which was ripe for disruption. For more information, visit www.revzilla.com.