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Jay Busbee

Puma swallows Cobra! Not just a nature show, a golf story!

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Big news in the golf equipment world, as Acushnet will sell its Cobra Golf line to Puma. The sale will include all "inventory, intellectual property and endorsement contracts," and Acushnet will help Puma with the transition post-sale.

Puma is rapidly getting into the golf arena, backing phenom Rickie Fowler (right, above) and now bringing on board a whole new slate of golfers via Cobra. Cobra counts Ian Poulter (right, below), Camilo Villegas and J.B. Holmes among its endorsers; Poulter took to Twitter early Thursday to note that he will continue to use Cobra golf equipment.

Acushnet also includes the Titleist and Footjoy brands, so there will obviously be some cross-company branding due to this sale. The strength of those two brands relative to Cobra -- plus the increasing overlap between Titleist and Cobra -- is why Acushnet decided to make the sale in the first place.

"More than ever, Acushnet chief Wally Uihlein wants to focus on his signature assets: Titleist and FootJoy," wrote Golfweek's Gene Yasuda. "In a tough economy and a stagnant golf market -- where share gains come only at the expense of others -- protecting these franchises clearly is job No. 1." By the same token, Yasuda notes, this allows Cobra to be the only equipment maker within its company, and thus this is one of those deals that could end up benefitting both sides.

The deal is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2010.

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