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Winnebago

Winnebago in Forest City as seen from the air.

FOREST CITY — RV manufacturer Winnebago Industries announced Monday it has entered the marine market by acquiring Chris-Craft, a recreational boat builder.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, according to a news release.

The recreational boat builder, owned by Stellican Ltd. since 2001, has a brand heritage dating back to 1874.

Winnebago said the company will drive future growth through introducing new models and product lines and expanding its capacities and dealer reach.

“Chris-Craft is an iconic, premium brand that shares many similarities with our own heritage Winnebago brand, including a commitment to providing customers with the highest quality products and services,” said Winnebago Industries President/CEO Michael Happe in a statement.

Happe said the company’s strong brand, high-quality product line and premium position in the marine market make Chris-Craft an attractive addition to Winnebago’s portfolio. This is the RV manufacturer’s first purchase in the marine market.

The acquisition also aligns with Winnebago’s strategic initiative to further diversify within the outdoor lifestyle market and “gives us a strong base on which to consider building an additional revenue platform over time,” Happe said.

Winnebago officials also see significant intersection between the RV and marine lifestyles and view marine as a natural adjacency to their existing outdoor lifestyle portfolio, with similar customer demographics and significant ownership crossover, according to Happe.

“With a broader, more balanced portfolio of products uniquely positioned across the outdoor lifestyle and leisure travel industries, we expect to continue to drive improved profitability and shareholder value over the long term,” he said.

Chris-Craft Chairman and Stellican Ltd. Founding Partner Stephen Julius said he is “delighted that Chris-Craft has found an ideal partner in Winnebago Industries.”

“Winnebago is a natural fit for Chris-Craft’s premium brand, with a similarly iconic brand, complementary cultures, and a shared dedication to design, craftsmanship, quality, and customer service,” he said.

Stephen Heese will continue to lead the Chris-Craft business as its president.

Winnebago expects to maintain Chris-Craft’s Sarasota, Florida headquarters, and the company will operate as a distinct business unit.

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