Boa technology, the denver-based company that invented an alternative to shoe laces which is now being used in footwear from the likes of adidas and new balance, is being sold to the private equity group compass diversified for $454m.

Boa will be the 10th company in the compass portfolio, which includes liberty safe, a manufacturer of gun safes, and sterno, a brand that specialises in heating fuels often used in buffets. earlier this year compass acquired marucci sports, a maker of baseball and softball equipment, for $200m.

Compass, which focuses on middle-market deals and whose own shares are publicly traded, is purchasing boa from its current majority owner glenbrook consumer partners and other minority shareholders. management and affiliates of the sellers plan to reinvest some of the proceeds into the company and will hold a 20 per cent stake, they added.

Since its founding in 2001, boa has emerged as an alternative to traditional laces with its boa fit system that uses a wheel mechanism to fasten shoes. the company, which initially set out to improve the fit and performance of snowboard boots, has expanded into sports such as running, hiking and golf.

Compass initially approached boa in mid-february but the sales process was put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the global economy, the private equity groups chief executive elias sabo said.

Boa last year unveiled its performance fit lab at its headquarters in denver where it is carrying out scientific studies to improve athlete performance.

It really fits every metric that we look for, mr sabo said. they own all the intellectual property in the space and there are no competitors.

Compass was founded in 1998 by mr sabo, originally to manage money for a charitable foundation. it went public in 2006 at a $200m valuation as it sought access to more permanent financing. compass is funding the boa acquisition with cash on its balance sheet.

Boas chief executive shawn neville, who took over in april 2017, will continue to lead the company. the deal is expected to close by early november.