Wilderness Systems has a New Daddy
Wildy parent company Confluence acquired by private equity firm J.H. Whitney Capital Partners
By Paul Lebowitz
Corporate shake-up! Confluence Watersports, the parent company of prominent fishing kayak brand Wilderness Systems, was acquired by private equity firm J.H. Whitney Capital Partners.
The new company will be called Confluence Outdoors (rhymes with Johnson Outdoors, hmm), positioning it for growth into “a full service outdoor recreation company” according to a news release (sounds ambitious). It will be fascinating to see what develops. Competitor Johnson Outdoors owns a wide spectrum of outdoor brands including Old Town, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Cannon, and Eureka.
Confluence CEO and president Sue Rechner will continue to lead the newly named company. No changes are expected in CO’s operations and facilities – it is business as usual at company headquarters in Greenville, S.C.
Here’s the full release:
Confluence Watersports Acquired by J.H. Whitney
GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 22, 2014) – Confluence Watersports, parent company to eight market-leading paddlesports brands, today announced that it has been acquired by J.H. Whitney Capital Partners, LLC ("J.H.Whitney"), a private equity firm based out of New Canaan, Conn.
The company will be re-named Confluence Outdoor and will continue in its commitment to the watersports market, with an expanded vision to grow the business into a full-service outdoor recreation company.
"We are very pleased to be brought into the J.H. Whitney family," said Sue Rechner, who will continue in her role as President & CEO of the newly formed Confluence Outdoor. "Confluence has always been an active and invested member of the outdoor industry, and we are fortunate that our new partnership with J.H. Whitney will enable us to build upon our success in paddlesports as a platform for future expansion. Their respect for and commitment to our industry is well demonstrated, and I feel certain that our shared excitement will foster continued growth and achievement for Confluence and the industry."
The company's operations and facilities – including manufacturing, design and engineering, research and development, customer service, sales and marketing teams – will remain in its current Greenville, S.C., location. Confluence Outdoor will continue to invest and play an active leadership role in paddlesports and the outdoor recreation industry.
"We have had our eye on a partnership with Confluence for years," said Paul Vigano, Senior Managing Director at J.H. Whitney. "The company has been such a significant and flourishing player in this space, and we have an immense respect for Sue and her team. J.H. Whitney has long been passionate about the outdoor recreation industry, and we are excited to support continued success and growth for the new Confluence Outdoor. I have no doubt that with our combined strengths and knowledge, we will accomplish all we've set out to do and more. We look forward to being a part of building that future, both for Confluence Outdoor and for the outdoor community as a whole."
For more information on Confluence Outdoor, please visit www.confluenceoutdoor.com.