Rene Lacoste is often credited with inventing the tennis polo shirt. But the Hall of Fame player, one of the famed Four Musketeers that dominated the game in the 1920s and 30s, was also a racquet technician, creating the first metal frame in 1961. More than twenty years later Lacoste released the Equijet racquet—an oval shaped frame with shorter cross strings in the middle of the frame—that was popularized by Guy Forget. Other than the rare collectible frame, since then the company that bears Lacoste’s name has remained relevant in tennis primarily through its performance apparel.
That’s about to change.
On Thursday, Lacoste announced that it acquired 80% of Major Sports, which is the holder of the Tecnifibre brand. The French company has built a solid reputation for its strings, and has starting gaining traction with its racquets and accessories. At 2017 US Open, 13 players in the men’s and women’s main draws played with Tecnifibre frames, the most ever for the company, and the fourth consecutive year the number has grown. While primarily found in France, the brand has been expanding to other European markets, as well as the United States. With the money and marketing muscle of Lacoste, the expansion could be on the fast track.
Thierry Guibert, CEO of Lacoste Group says, "This ambitious project will make it possible to make use of valuable synergies for both companies: the acceleration of international development for Tecnifibre and the development of technical products under the Lacoste brand.”
The official takeover will take effect on October 1.