KemperSports, a family-owned management company for more than four decades, has received an infusion of capital from a trio of outside investors. It plans to spend the money on acquisitions.
“In the past, we’ve self-funded,” said Steve Lesnik, the company’s chairman, “but we have a lot of confidence in the golf industry, and we felt it was time to team up with capital that will enable us to be more active.”
One of KemperSports’ new financiers is LNC Partners, a small private-equity firm based in Reston, Va., that appears to be making its first investment in the golf industry. The other investors have yet to be identified.
The transaction closed in early May. Lesnik declined to reveal the amount of the investment or the size of his new partners’ stake in KemperSports, but he said that “no investor has a majority interest.”
Throughout its history, KemperSports has prized its independence, relying on its own financial resources to fund its growth. Nevertheless, today it ranks fourth among U.S. companies on Golf Inc.’s list of the largest golf-management companies, behind Troon, Invited (previously ClubCorp) and Indigo Golf Partners, which is part of Troon. It owns, leases or manages 135 golf courses.
Last year, the Northbrook, Ill.-based company bought Corte Bella Golf Club in West Sun City, Ariz., adding to a group of owned-and-operated properties that features Governors Club in suburban Nashville, Tenn., and Royal Melbourne Country Club in Chicagoland.
Lesnik and CEO Steve Skinner will continue to oversee KemperSports’ growth, and they figure to maintain the Midwestern values that have served the company since its founding in 1978.
“Historically, we’ve grown organically, and we’ll continue to do so,” said Lesnik. “KemperSports is going to be doing business as usual.”
So far this year, KemperSports has secured six management contracts, and it has two purchases pending.