Winnebago Acquires Boat Builder Chris-Craft

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Winnebago Industries has acquired Chris-Craft, a recreational boat builder, from Stellican Ltd., which has owned Chris-Craft since 2001. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Chris-Craft is poised to leverage its brand reputation and drive future growth through the introduction of new models and product lines, category extension opportunities supported by increased production capacity and expanded dealer reach, Winnebago stated.

“Chris-Craft marks Winnebago’s first entry into the marine market, which we believe has significant runway for growth, with a large and increasing population of current and new boaters who enjoy extraordinary experiences on the water,” said Michael Happe, Winnebago president and CEO. “We believe there will be synergies realized across our value chain and that the Chris-Craft business has material expansion opportunities available. Additionally, we see significant intersection between the RV and marine lifestyles and view marine as a natural adjacency to our existing outdoor lifestyle portfolio, with similar customer demographics and significant ownership crossover.”

“I am delighted that Chris-Craft has found an ideal partner in Winnebago Industries,” said Stephen Julius, Chris-Craft chairman and Stellican founding partner. “Winnebago is a natural fit for Chris-Craft’s premium brand, with a similarly iconic brand, complementary cultures, and a shared dedication to design, craftsmanship, quality, and customer service.”

“We look forward to further developing our storied brand while leveraging Winnebago’s capital and resources to accelerate our growth and continue delivering an exceptional product experience for our dealers and customers,” said Stephen Heese, Chris-Craft president.

Winnebago released the following information regarding transaction details:

  • Chris-Craft is expected to be immediately accretive to Winnebago’s fiscal 2019 EPS
  • Heese will continue to lead the Chris-Craft business as its president
  • Winnebago expects to maintain Chris-Craft’s Sarasota, Fla., headquarters
  • Chris-Craft will operate as a distinct business unit within a new “Other” operating segment

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