Football helmet maker buys Lebanon’s Simbex

Amaris Genemaras, a research engineer at Simbex, collects data from helmets at a Dartmouth football practice on April 28, 2017 in Hanover N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Amaris Genemaras, a research engineer at Simbex, collects data from helmets at a Dartmouth football practice on April 28, 2017 in Hanover N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley news file photo – Jennifer Hauck

Riddell football helmets are tested with an impact device at Simbex, a medical device commercialization company, on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Lebanon, N.H. Helmets outfitted with the Simbex Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) are tested daily. The HITS technology consists of sensors placed on the inside of football helmets that measure the force of impacts to the head. (Valley News - Jovelle Tamayo) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Riddell football helmets are tested with an impact device at Simbex, a medical device commercialization company, on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Lebanon, N.H. Helmets outfitted with the Simbex Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) are tested daily. The HITS technology consists of sensors placed on the inside of football helmets that measure the force of impacts to the head. (Valley News - Jovelle Tamayo) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jovelle Tamayo

A Dartmouth football player watches from the sideline during a practice in Hanover, N.H, on April 28, 2017. This particular helmet has Simbex sensors in it. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

A Dartmouth football player watches from the sideline during a practice in Hanover, N.H, on April 28, 2017. This particular helmet has Simbex sensors in it. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-17-2024 7:31 PM

Modified: 04-18-2024 12:15 PM


LEBANON — Riddell Sports, which makes the helmets worn by more than 75% of players in the National Football League, has purchased Simbex, a Lebanon-based company that revolutionized the monitoring of head impacts in athletics.

The purchase price was $3.55 million in cash, according to a news release issued by Evorne Medical Technologies, a Canadian medical technology startup that has owned Simbex since 2021.

Simbex, which operates out of an historic mill building off Mechanic Street, has about 35 employees. Riddell was already the medical device and health products designer’s biggest and most important customer.

Riddell is an “amazing company and has been wildly successful in football for more than 100 years,” Simbex Chief Executive Officer Greg Lange, said in a Valley News interview. “They recognize us as a key partner of theirs and this is really something the Upper Valley can be proud of.”

Asked if Riddell has assured Simbex that it will keep the company based in Lebanon — a typical worry when a private-equity owned company acquires a local employer with deep ties in the community — Lange said, “we really enjoy being in downtown Lebanon and we expect to be here for a long time.”

A Riddell spokesperson said via email to the Valley News that “we have no plans to relocate or disrupt the Simbex operations.”

Simbex is best known for developing the technology that goes into football helmets to monitor head impacts used extensively throughout Riddell’s helmets.

Riddell itself has been a longtime licensee of Simbex’s technology, but ownership of the company now vaults Riddell into position to become a player in the market of monitoring and injury rehabilitation devices across a wide field of sports.

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The sale to Riddell places Simbex in the hands of a well-capitalized company with national scope, Lange said. The acquisition came at the same time that Riddell announced it had received a $400 million investment from BC Partners Credit, some of which Riddell said will be used to accelerate innovation and make new investments.

“There are so many positives about this,” Lange said, noting that Riddell will provide stability and resources for Simbex.

Thad Ide, executive vice president of research and development at Riddell, said in a news release that the acquisition of Simbex “underscores our commitment to leveraging Simbex’s broad capabilities and expertise in pursuit of next-generation head protection platforms.”

Ide’s statement was affirmed in the Riddell spokesperson’s email, explaining that “this acquisition better positions Simbex to continue its innovative work with Riddell and other clients.”

Evome said it will use proceeds from the sale of Simbex to pay down debt in order to focus on other areas of its medical device business.

Three years ago, Evome, known as Salona Medical Device Corp., bought Simbex for about $4.4 million in cash, according to financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, Salona bought Simbex shares valued at about $6.3 million in Canadian dollars issued to sellers contingent upon performance targets, according to SEC filings.

Over the years, Simbex has designed, either on its own or under contract with other companies, medical and health devices — along with the software required to operate them — such as wearable orthotics and prosthetic devices.

Simbex was founded in 2000 by its former longtime CEO, Rick Greenwald, and late Upper Valley entrepreneur Robert C. Dean. They were later joined by partner and chief technology officer Jeff Chu.

Greenwald and Chu remain as consultants with the company.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.