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Mavic: 'Well-known' ex-pro cyclists reportedly involved in rescue bid for iconic brand

Paris-based lawyer heads group looking to save troubled business - but time is pressing

There are hopes that Mavic, placed in receivership by a French court last month, can be saved from going out of business by a group reportedly including “two renowned former professional cyclists.” Time is pressing though, with bids needing to be submitted within the next two weeks.

According to French sports daily L’Equipe, the rescue bid is being headed by Paris-based lawyer Didier Poulmaire.

He said he had put together “a small group of experts from the bike manufacturing, distribution, events and marketing sectors,” as well as the two ex-pro riders to help him with the project.

“The plan is to finalise a project that helps save the jobs and the know-how of the men and women who are steeped in ‘yellow blood’,” said Poulmaire, the latter phrase a reference to the brand’s signature colour.

He said that the project was “well under way” and that “several avenues are still being studied” regarding the Annecy-based company, founded in 1889 and best known for its wheels.

“For me, the difficulties Mavic has encountered create an opportunity to mobilise the economic actors that intend to actively participate in building the famous ‘monde d'après’ [the ‘after-world’ following the coronavirus pandemic] that we’ve heard so much about recently,” he continued.

Drawing a parallel with Japan’s so-called “economic patriotism,” and referencing the French title of the 1998 Steven Spielberg film, Saving Private Ryan, he added: “Pulling off the gamble of  Saving Private Mavic would demonstrate that France means to support its industrial tool, the employees who made Mavic, and moreover, the players in the world of sport, which will allow France to shine at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Mavic was sold last year by former owner, the Finnish sporting goods conglomerate Amer Sports, to Los Angeles-based private equity firm, Regent LP. Its legal owner is Delaware-based company M Sports, set up by Regent LP to handle the transaction.

> Mavic in receivership - how did it come to this for one of cycling's most famous brands?

Sales at the company, which employs around 200 people in France and around 50 more abroad, have been in freefall in recent years while losses have continued to mount and it struggled to pay its debts.

In December, it entered a process called conciliation, an early stage under French corporate bankruptcy law, and in February its management was entrusted to By Saving, a French turnaround specialist.

Earlier this month, it was placed in a process called redressement judiciaire, in which a court appoints a receiver who works alongside management to maximise returns to creditors.

Potential outcomes may include a sale of the business, however if no buyer can be found, liquidation is another possibility.

There is a deadline of 2 June for bids for the company, the date of the next court hearing regarding Mavic.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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