Winnebago Industries Acquires Pontoon Maker

A picture of a family riding in a Barletta pontoon boat. Winnebago announced it is buying Barletta.

Winnebago Industries, Inc. will acquire Barletta Pontoon Boats for $255 million in cash and stock. Shares used in the transaction are newly issued and could grow by $15 million based on performance milestones through 2021.

Certain growth objectives, if achieved through calendar years 2022 and 2023, provide the opportunity for up to $50 million in additional cash consideration, the companies said.

Barletta is a 4-year-old company that manufactures premium pontoon boats. The manufacturer has 125 dealer locations across the U.S. and Canada. Barletta generated full-year 2020 revenues of $120.6 million and EBITDA of $10.5 million and expects to deliver full-year 2021 revenues of $214.6 million and EBITDA of $26.4 million.

The company recently opened a new manufacturing facility in Bristol, Indiana, to add capacity and scale and meet growth demands.

“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,” Winnebago President and CEO Michael Happe said. “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.”

After the transaction closes, Barletta will operate as a distinct business unit within Winnebago.

“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,” Barletta Pontoon Boats President and founder Bill Fenech said. “Our shared values and dedication to creating exceptional outdoor experiences make Winnebago Industries an ideal owner and partner for us.”

Winnebago’s public reporting will include the formation of a new Marine reporting segment comprised of Barletta and Chris-Craft. Barletta’s manufacturing facilities will remain in Bristol, Indiana and Fenech will lead the Barletta business post-closing as its president.

“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,” Happe said. “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.”

Winnebago said Barletta’s premium pontoons are highly differentiated from the Chris-Craft brand and have very limited dealer overlap with other Winnebago brands. Adding Barletta’s experienced management team, led by Fenech, brings valuable marine expertise, Winnebago said.

The transaction is expected to close early in Winnebago’s fiscal 2022 first quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

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