Linklaters, Gibson Dunn Advise as NBA Star LeBron James Takes Stake in German Bicycle Maker

Linklaters and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher are advising on a deal in which basketball superstar LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter are taking a minority stake in German high-end bicycle maker Canyon Bicycles—a move that will support Canyon’s plans to expand in the U.S.

James and Carter are investing in the well-known bicycle manufacturer, which makes both conventional and e-bikes, through their family office—LRMR Ventures—together with the U.S.-based private equity firm SC Holdings.

Linklaters is advising Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL), the majority shareholder of Canyon Bicycles, and Gibson Dunn is advising SC Holdings. Linklaters represented GBL in 2020 on its majority acquisition of Canyon.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but the German business publication Handelsblatt put the value of the minority stake at €30 million. In 2020, Linklaters said in a statement that Canyon’s annual sales totaled more than €400 million.

Canyon is a Koblenz-based bicycle manufacturer that started out as a small family business and has in recent years experienced a high level of growth to become the “world’s leading direct-to-customer bike company,” according to its website.

Linklaters private equity partner Andreas Müller and managing associate Julia Rupp led for GBL on the deal, while Gibson Los Angeles-based partner Kevin Masuda, along with associate Jan Schubert in Frankfurt, led for SC Holdings.

According to a partner involved in the deal, Milbank partner Michael Pujol represented Canyon founder Roman Arnold, who is also a shareholder.

The deal follows another big-name sports-related deal for Gibson. The firm advised Elliott Advisors U.K. and RedBird Capital Partners on the sale of the AC Milan Football Club last month—a deal in which the club was valued at €1.2 billion.

Linklaters also worked on a billion euro deal last month, advising global telecoms giant Telefónica in selling off part of its Spanish rural fiber network, which saw the creation of a consortium company valued at €2.5 billion.