SCHWINN, bike-maker for generations, being bought by rival Huffy

Tuesday, July 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMISBURG, Ohio (AP) _ Huffy has agreed to buy Schwinn's trademark and other assets for more than $60 million, combining two of the biggest names in bicycles during the baby boom.

Schwinn/GT Corp. said Monday it had filed for bankruptcy protection, clearing the way for the purchase by Miamisburg-based Huffy.

The deal must be approved by the bankruptcy court and other companies will have a chance to bid for Schwinn's assets, ``but we feel good about having a bid going into the process,'' Huffy chairman and chief executive Don Graber said Tuesday.

The sale would not mean the end of the Schwinn, company chief executive Jeff Sinclair said.

Schwinn was founded in Chicago in 1895 and was the dominant bike-maker for much of the 20th century. By the 1950s, one of every four bikes sold in the United States was a Schwinn.

The company lost much of its market share in the 1980s after failing to capitalize on the mountain-bike craze and losing its appeal to younger bikers. It filed for bankruptcy in 1992 and merged with GT Bicycles six years later.

Its bikes are second in market share behind Trek Bicycle Corp., according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Schwinn, based in Boulder, Colo., was put up for sale in April by its owner, Questor Partners Funds.

Huffy was founded in 1924 as Huffman Manufacturing Co. to make service station equipment. It didn't start making bicycles until 1934.

In 1999, Huffy closed its last two U.S. bicycle plants and moved production to Asia and Mexico because of competition.