Platinum Equity announced on December 11 the signing of a definitive agreement to sell Fishing Holdings, LLC, the Flippin, Arkansas-based manufacturer of the Ranger Boats, Stratos and Triton fishing boat brands, to Bass Pro Group, LLC.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Platinum Equity acquired Ranger Boats and Stratos as part of a larger portfolio of boat brands in February 2010 from Genmar Holdings, Inc., through a transaction conducted under Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Triton was acquired from Brunswick in July 2010.
"Nearly five years ago we pledged to provide the resources and support necessary to help the company grow and evolve, while respecting the heritage and deep roots in fishing that make it so special,' said Platinum Equity Partner Louis Samson, who led the acquisitions in 2010. "We achieved our goals and I am very proud of all that has been accomplished during our stewardship.'
In addition to the add-on acquisition of Triton, Platinum Equity worked with the Fishing Holdings management team to execute a series of other growth and operational improvement programs, including: the development and launch of a line of aluminum boats that involved developing a completely new manufacturing site from the ground up; continued introduction of innovative new products across all brands and segments; strengthening of dealer relationships; and numerous improvements in manufacturing capabilities and overall operational efficiency.
Samson credited Fishing Holdings President, Randy Hopper, and the hard work of Fishing Holdings employees as the key driver of the company's success.
"Randy is an exceptional leader, with a very talented executive team supported by a tremendous group of dedicated employees throughout the entire organization,' said Samson. "The business will be in very good hands going forward.'
Hopper expressed excitement about the future as part of the Bass Pro Shops family. "We're very fortunate to be partnering with an organization with so much understanding of the industry and our brands,' said Hopper. "This new alliance will provide synergies that will strengthen our independent dealer base and ensure our continued focus on fishing.'
In addition to generating operational benefits, the transaction will provide further enhanced services and products to better support Fishing Holdings' existing dealer network and large base of customers worldwide.
Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris said, "We're excited about the association with these iconic brands. Ranger Boats founder Forrest Wood has been a longtime friend and someone who has made a tremendous impact on our industry. We look forward to building on such a rich history.'
According to Morris, after the transaction closes Fishing Holdings' portfolio will continue to operate from its Flippin, Arkansas headquarters under the leadership of existing local management, which boasts more than four decades of experience. He said the new partnership not only joins some of the industry's most respected brands, but also provides greater stability and growth opportunities for Fishing Holdings' independent dealer base.
"The business will continue to be operated independently by the same management team that has led it for many years,' added Morris. "Our goal is to provide the products and services necessary to fuel our collective growth.'
Platinum Equity was founded by Tom Gores in 1995. The global investment firm has more than US $7 billion in assets under management and a portfolio of operating companies that generated approximately US $15 billion in revenue in 2013. Platinum Equity specializes in mergers, acquisitions and operations. Over the past 19 years Platinum Equity has completed more than 150 acquisitions.