Tom Struzzieri, president and chief executive officer of Horse Shows In The Sun, announced Nov. 22 that HITS is now a joint venture with Leonard Green & Partners L.P., a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm.
Struzzieri will remain as the president and CEO of HITS, which runs hunter/jumper circuits in Florida, New York, California, Arizona and Virginia.
“Our partnership will enable us to continue to build upon our strengths and will reinforce our role as a leader in this industry,” said Struzzieri. “This partnership represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to dedicate resources to the long-term growth and development of a wide array of equestrian disciplines.”
A central figure in the deal was John Danhakl, a managing partner of Leonard Green. Danhakl\’s daughter, Stephanie, is an accomplished hunter rider and has won numerous HITS Desert Circuit (Calf.) junior hunter circuit championships on her horses.
“John Danhakl\’s initiation of this transaction on behalf of Leonard Green was a significant factor in its consummation,” admitted Struzzieri. “It was essential that such a unique pairing be overseen by someone who has in-depth experience in horse showing. John is highly skilled and trusted in the business world, and he knows horse shows, so it\’s the perfect combination.”
Leonard Green & Partners is a private equity form with approximately $3.7 billion in equity capital under management. It was founded in 1989. Struzzieri established the first HITS shows in Florida in 1982.