Saturday, April 13, 2024


Multi-brand US powersports aftermarket giant Arrowhead Engineered Products has bought leading European motorcycle parts, accessories and apparel distributor Bihr from Belgian private equity firm Alcopa for an undisclosed sum.

Bihr, which is headquartered in Belgium, has operations in 20 countries across continental Europe and the UK, supplying more than 15,000 dealers with around 350 brands and over 200,000 product lines. Its British assets include Arai, AGV, Motul, Wolf and RST distributor Motodirect — plus ownership of Motodirect’s Wolf and RST apparel brands — as well as off-road trade specialist Race FX.

These UK businesses respectively joined Bihr’s stable in October 2019 and March 2021. And in June 2021, Bihr also swallowed German parts and accessories trade purveyor Paaschburg & Wunderlich.

Alcopa, which acquired Bihr in 2010 and invested heavily in the company’s Europe-wide development from its origins in France, says it “has been convinced by a strong rationale behind the acquisition by Arrowhead”. This, it claims, “will create a truly global leader in a consolidating industry”. 

Consolidation is also very much name of the game for Arrowhead, which is a much larger entity. It already had a UK presence, having acquired Doncaster-based major bike parts wholesaler Hi-Level from the Levine family eight years ago. Built up from predominantly manufacturing roots in Minnesota by US private equity partners Riverside and Investcorp, Arrowhead was sold on last autumn to a really big-league private equity firm in San Francisco, Genstar Capital.

Armed with a portion of Genstar’s enormous resources — currently boasting about £29bn of investments in various enterprises — Arrowhead has quickly brought deals to fruition for this new parental relationship.

At the beginning of 2022, it took over US distributor Western Power Sports, serving a nearly 12,000-strong American dealer network with more than 150 sales reps on the road and seven strategically positioned warehouses.

The purchase of Bihr barely six months later, including another seven distribution centres and 24-hour logistics turnaround throughout most of Europe, has followed with remarkable rapidity.   



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