|Headquarters||Leatherhead, Surrey, England|
|Products||Racquet sports equipment and accessories, Golf equipment|
|Revenue||approx. $650 million|
Dunlop was established as a company manufacturing goods from rubber in 1889. The company entered the sporting goods market in 1910, when it began to manufacture rubber golf balls at its base in Birmingham. The company introduced the Maxfli golf ball in 1922.
Dunlop extended into tennis ball manufacture in 1924. In 1925, F A Davis was acquired, which had tennis racket manufacturing expertise. Dunlop opened acquisition discussions with Slazenger in 1927, but without success. In 1928 the sports division became a subsidiary of Dunlop Rubber named Dunlop Sports. Headquarters were relocated from Birmingham to Waltham Abbey in Essex.
The Dunlop "flying D" logo was introduced in 1960.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Dunlop was slow to adapt to the new materials that tennis rackets were increasingly being made from, believing that wood would remain the dominant material.
In 1983 the John Letters golf club business was sold back to members of the Letters family.
In 1986, the parent company, Dunlop Holdings, was acquired by the industrial company BTR for £549 million. BTR cut marketing spending to just 8 per cent of sales and reduced investment in grass roots sponsorship and research and development. Steffi Graf's sponsorship money was cut so she defected to a Wilson racket.
In 1996 Dunlop Slazenger was acquired by the private equity firm Cinven for £330 million. To save money, Cinven moved production of Dunlop tennis balls from England to the Philippines. Slazenger Golf and Maxfli were sold off to reduce debt.
In December 2016, Sports Direct announced it had agreed to sell the Dunlop brand to Sumitomo Rubber Industries for £112 million ($137.5 million). Sumitomo already owned the rights to the sports as well as the rubber industries brand in most of the world. The sale is due to be completed by May 2017.
Dunlop Sport is the current supplier for the ATP World Team Championship in Düsseldorf. It is also the official supplier for all three clay court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, which includes the Monte-Carlo Masters, the Rome Masters and the Madrid Masters. As for ATP World Tour 500 tournaments, it is the official supplier for the Barcelona Open. Additionally, it is the official supplier for ATP World Tour 250 tournaments at the BMW Open in Munich, the Portugal Open and the Open de Nice Côte d'Azur. Dunlop Sport is also the official supplier of the WTA Tour Volvo Cars Open in Charleston, South Carolina.
Notable players that have used Dunlop tennis rackets (and switched sponsorships) in the past include Steffi Graf, John McEnroe, Amélie Mauresmo, Tomáš Berdych, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas, Martina Navratilova, Marat Safin, James Blake and Jamie Murray. Present users include:
Notable players who use Dunlop squash racquets include :
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- Dunlop » IBML
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- The Guardian (London) 17 November 1984 Dunlop divides into seven 'profit centres' BYLINE: By MAGGIE BROWN
- Dunlop sold in BTR re-focus – Business – News – The Independent
- BTR eyes overseas sites to cut losses
- Dunlop back on form after golf sale | The Sunday Times
- Osborne, Alistair (5 February 2004). "Game, set and match for Dunlop Slazenger". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- Wood, Zoe (27 December 2016). "Sports Direct sells Dunlop for $137m". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- Butler, Sarah (29 December 2016). "Pension expert call for scrutiny over Sports Direct sale of Dunlop". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
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