This should get interesting!
The pillars of bass fishing continue to shake with today's news that Brunswick Corp. sold its Triton Boats brand to Platinum Equity.
Platinum, which acquired the Ranger, Stratos and Champion brands at the Genmar bankruptcy auction in January of this year, now possesses two of the "big four" bass-boat brands.
The sale thus centralizes much of the current bass-tournament sponsorship under a single umbrella.
While Ranger has traditionally underwritten FLW Outdoors circuits, Triton has traditionally underwritten BASS circuits.
Prior to the Irwin Jacobs era of Ranger, the company as founded by Forrest Wood was closely aligned with BASS. Jacobs pulled Ranger away from involvement with BASS and industry experts now wait to see how the major Ranger and Triton sponsorships will shake out.
What the sale means for the future of tour and league sponsorship is certainly unclear. And the picture is even cloudier given current rumors that BASS will be sold in the coming days or weeks.
Brunswick today issued a news release announcing the sale.
The Triton brand was sold to Platinum subsidiary Fishing Holdings LLC.
Production of Triton fiberglass boats will be moved from Ashland City, Tenn. to Flippin, Ark. That means Ranger, Stratos and Champion fiberglass boats will all be manufactured at the Ranger plant in Flippin.
Lund fiberglass manufacturing will be moved to the Brunswick Boat Group's (BBG) Tellico fiberglass boat manufacturing facility in Vonore, Tenn., while Trophy fiberglass fishing boats will continue to be built in Ashland City through the remainder of the year as Brunswick "evaluates strategic alternatives for the brand."
Additionally, Brunswick will continue to build and sell Triton aluminum boats at its Lebanon, Mo. facility under license.
Brunswick's Mercury Marine unit will continue to supply motors to Triton and Fishing Holdings' other brands. There was no mention of exclusivity.
There was no mention in the release of Triton founder and current president Earl Bentz.
In the announcement, Brunswick chairman and CEO Dustan McCoy noted: "This decision was part of our ongoing strategic review to further refine our product portfolio and best focus our resources on those brands and marine segments that we believe are core to our success going forward. As such, Brunswick will maintain its leadership position in the recreational and fishing boat markets, with a strong presence in the freshwater and sportfishing segments as well as leading brands in the runabout/cruiser and yachts segments.
“These decisions, while strategic in nature, are never easy or without difficult consequences.” McCoy added. "But they are nevertheless required by business realities, and are no reflection upon the dedication and expertise of the men and women at the Ashland City facility."
Follow-up reporting forthcoming.
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