It’s a well-known fact that nothing screams “It’s the Holidays” like fly fishing industry news (this made-up fact brought to you courtesy the Underground), but I figured I could squeeze this one in while a sick M2 sleeps.
Before: Orvis bought Ross Reels and Scientific Anglers
Now: Orvis is keeping SciAnglers, but selling Ross Reels to the same people that own Abel Reels.
Relevant News To Those Not Employed By Either: Ross may bring back their much-loved, but decidedly old-school Cimarron and Gunnison reels.
Penetrating Insights: I wonder why Orvis — who sells their own reels — didn’t simply shut Ross down, sending a competitor to Valhalla. Money to be made, I gather.
Sadly, brands rarely prosper when they’re passed through a couple new owners, but here’s hoping for the best for Ross. At the very least, I hope anyone “consolidated” out of job (Able already manufactures reels) doesn’t get hit with the news until after the Holidays.
Actual Text of Wordy, Corporate-Speak Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orvis Sells Ross Reels to the Mayfly Group
Manchester, VT (December 23, 2013) – The Orvis Company, Inc. of Manchester, VT today announced it has entered an agreement to sell its Ross Reels subsidiary to the Mayfly Group, LLC. Mayfly operates various brand names including Abel Automatics, Inc., a leading manufacturer of premium fly-fishing reels and accessories based in Camarillo, CA. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Orvis acquired Ross Reels from 3M (NYSE:MMM) in June 2013 as part of an acquisition that also brought fly line manufacturer Scientific Anglers under Orvis ownership. Based in Montrose, CO, Ross Reels is well-known for its excellent line of mid-priced fly reels highly regarded by fly fishers. Since acquiring the company, while Orvis has developed a clear growth strategy for its Scientific Anglers brand, it has struggled to integrate the Ross brand into its own reel business, while also sustaining Ross’s diversified manufacturing operations in market segments where Orvis has limited expertise and name recognition. It therefore became clear that Ross would not be a strong fit for Orvis’s long term strategy, according to Jim Lepage, President of the Orvis subsidiary operating both Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels.
Mayfly is an Arizona-based holding company with offices in both Colorado and Nevada. Abel and Orvis have a long and friendly professional relationship.
“With the help of the Abel engineering team, the Ross brand will be updated and new products added; in addition, Ross will re-introduce selected reels from its former product lineup including the Gunnison and Cimarron,” said David Dragoo, president of Mayfly. “Mayfly Group is honored to be associated with Ross Reels, an iconic fly fishing brand. We hope to expand upon the creativity and quality of the brand developed by founder Ross Hauck more than 40 years ago.”
“Ross Reels has an interesting history and a loyal following,” Lepage said. “We respect the company’s strong tradition, outstanding workforce, well-run factory and quality products. We would prefer for the brand to remain in the market, even if it remains a competitor to Orvis. We are happy that we found a strategic buyer that can give Ross Reels the attention it deserves and look forward to seeing it prosper and grow in the years to come. We wish Mayfly and the Ross Reel factory employees much success.”
The sale is scheduled to close on or about December 30, 2013. Both companies are working diligently to assure a smooth transition for Ross customers and employees, as well as business systems, so the change-over is as seamless as possible, said Lepage.