Brunswick Corp. sold its Hatteras and Cabo brands to Versa Capital Management LLC affiliate Navis HCY Acquisition LLC.
Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, but the brands are expected to stay in North Carolina and John Ward will continue to lead them.
A Versa spokeswoman told Trade Only Today that the company has no additional comment at this time.
Ward, a 24-year marine executive whose experience includes roles with Boston Whaler and Mercury, will continue to lead Hatteras and Cabo as president and CEO.
“We are very excited to become part of the Versa team, given their financial and operational expertise,” Ward said in a statement. “The economic downturn affected the entire marine industry. We are proud that Versa has put their confidence into our iconic brands and that the firm shares our belief in American manufacturing. Since we learned in January that we were being sold, we have been waiting for the right financial partner to support our business. We see that partner in Versa.”
“Virtually all” Hatteras and Cabo employees will be retained, according to a statement.
“We are pleased to complete this process in a manner that will help maintain the legacy of the Hatteras and Cabo brands,” Brunswick CEO Dusty McCoy said in a statement. “Further, we are gratified that this transaction will result in Hatteras and Cabo remaining in New Bern, while continuing to provide employment opportunities for the employee base.”
Versa Capital CEO Gregory Segall says he sees a “great opportunity” to build value in the businesses.
“Both Hatteras and Cabo are cornerstone American brands in their respective luxury marine markets, and both have been affected during the extended economic downturn,” Segall said in a statement. “Working with the company’s seasoned management team, we see great opportunity to build value in these businesses while retaining the expertise in engineering and Eastern Seaboard production that has given Hatteras/Cabo their well-earned reputations as premier yacht and sportfishing vessel builders.”
Brunswick Corp. announced in January that it would sell the New Bern, N.C.-based brands. In late July, documents filed in North Carolina showed that Brunswick asked officials to reassign electric power to new owners.
“I am pleased to inform you that within the next few weeks we intend to enter into an asset purchase agreement whereby we will sell Hatteras and Cabo Yacht businesses to Navis HCY Acquisition, an affiliate of Versa Capital Management LLC,” Hatteras and Cabo CFO Robert Nenni said in a letter obtained by Trade Only Today.
A Versa spokeswoman told Trade Only at the time that a deal might be struck within two weeks.
Brunswick purchased Hatteras Yachts in 2001 and Cabo in 2006. Lazard Middle Market acted as sole investment banker for Brunswick Corp. on the transaction.
Philadelphia-based Versa is a private equity investment firm with $1.3 billion in assets under management. Its portfolio includes Vestis, a group of outdoor retail apparel and equipment stores, including Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores, the latter of which “has executed a highly successful turnaround under Versa’s direction,” the company said. Versa also owns Black Angus Steakhouses and Polartec, both of which it successfully brought back to profitability and new growth.
The company looks for investment opportunities in North American businesses with revenue in the $50 million to $1 billion range or assets of $25 million to $500 million, according to its website.
— Reagan Haynes