Oakley buys North Sails: signs of recovery from the boating world?

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north-sailsSigns of recovery in the boating world, “stuck” since 2008? Reading between the lines, it would appear so. News has been made official that the majority stake in North Technology Group, the company that owns the North Sails, Southern Spars and Edgewater Boats brands, has been acquired by the Oakley Capital Private Equity group of British businessman (and avid sailor) Peter Dubens, totaling $130 million. The Sunday Times had written it, North confirmed it. The former owner of North’s majority stake, Tom Whidden, will remain with the company as CEO, but the 44-year-old Dubens will take over as chairman.

Peter Dubens, 44
Peter Dubens, 44

IS FINANCE, BABY
Business is business. And if a businessman such as Dubens decides to invest in a brand (“We are enormously excited about the potential of North Sails and are already working with management on its future evolution,” he said), he certainly does not do so out of pure passion. The rule is simple: buy at a lower price in times of crisis if you see the possibility of future growth in your target industry. In fact, it appears that initially the value of the package was around $400-450 million (Sailing Anarchy wrote this) but had come down in the negotiation due to the group’s debts. And if for this 2014 the situation will remain stationary (there is actually already some signs of recovery: read about it here), it seems that things are to change – for the better – starting in 2015 (according to reliable sources within the sailing company itself). And owning a major brand like North Sails will definitely make a difference.


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