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Winnebago Industries Purchases Barletta Pontoon Boats

By: Scott Way

Winnebago Industries Inc., the popular namesake for RV's and outdoor living, has purchased Barletta Pontoon Boats in a $255 million deal. The acquisition includes cash and newly issued Winnebago Industries shares, as well as up to $15 million in additional shares if performance milestones are met by the end of fiscal 2021. Additional growth metrics through 2022 and 2023 could also provide up to $50 million in additional cash considerations.

The deal marks another significant move by Winnebago to acquire a larger portion of the marine and outdoor lifestyle market. The Iowa-based RV and trailer manufacturer purchased iconic boat brand Chris-Craft in 2018. As part of today's deal, Winnebago will also absorb Barletta's 300+ employees and its factory facility in Bristol, Indiana. Barletta will continue to operate independently of Winnebago and will keep existing president Bill Fenech at the helm. The transaction is expected to close first quarter of 2022 pending regulatory approval.

Barletta is a relatively new company having only been founded in 2017, but have made a significant mark on the industry in that time. The company has a dealer network cross North America with over 125 locations and generated over $120 million in revenue in 2020. Their projected 20221 revenues are even higher, driven by the increased demand brought on by the pandemic, with projections exceeding $214 million. An existing backlog of orders, which most manufacturers are currently navigating, will ensure a steady stream of revenue over the course of the transition with Winnebago.

In a company statement, Winnebago Industries President and CEO Michael Happe said, "The acquisition of Barletta significantly expands Winnebago Industries’ presence in the strong and growing marine market by acquiring the fastest-growing brand within one of the most rapidly-growing boating segments. Barletta's premium, innovative pontoon boats are a natural fit with our broader brand portfolio, with shared appeal among families looking to create great experiences and memories on land or on water. Barletta's commitment to quality, innovation and service – the same golden threads that unite all Winnebago Industries brands – and strong relationships with its dealer partners, has driven tremendous growth, enabling Barletta to become a rising force in the industry in a short period of time. We look forward to leveraging our operational excellence, functional resources and proven expertise in nurturing and growing outdoor lifestyle brands to fuel the organic expansion of Barletta’s product line, market share and margins. We are excited to welcome Barletta’s talented employees to the Winnebago Industries team and believe this transaction positions us well to deliver enhanced growth and significant value creation for employees, customers and shareholders.”

Barletta Pontoon Boats president and founder Bill Fenech added, “Today is an exciting day for Barletta, as Winnebago Industries’ track record of cultivating premium outdoor lifestyle brands will allow us to further accelerate our growth, expand our offerings, and gain greater share of the pontoon boat market segment. Our shared values and dedication to creating exceptional outdoor experiences make Winnebago Industries an ideal owner and partner for us. We look forward to continuing to innovate and deliver the highest-quality products, unrivaled customer experience, and win-win partnerships with our dealers as Barletta grows within the Winnebago Industries portfolio."

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