By Eric Vienneau

On July 20th, 2021, it was announced that Winnebago Industries, Inc, the well-known leading outdoor lifestyle products manufacturer, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Barletta Pontoon Boats, the industry’s fastest-growing premium pontoon boat manufacturer.

The initial consideration is $255 million, plus up to $15 million in Winnebago Industries shares upon the achievement of performance milestones at the end of calendar 2021. Also, certain growth objectives, if achieved through 2022 and 2023 could provide the opportunity for up to $50 million in additional cash consideration. In summary, the transaction is expected to be very financially beneficial for both companies.

Bill Fenech, president and founder of Barletta Pontoon Boats, says the deal came about because of his close relationship with Michael Happe, president, and CEO of Winnebago Industries.

“We had conversations here and there, and eventually [Michael Happe] told me to call him if I ever wanted to sell,” said Fenech. “I thought about the future of [Barletta] and I thought Winnebago could definitely help.”

Fenech has been involved in selling a business to Winnebago before. Grand Design was one such business which was sold to Winnebago in 2016.

“Barletta’s premium, innovative pontoon boats are a natural fit with our broader portfolio, with shared appeal among families looking to create experiences and memories on land or on water,” said Michael Happe in a statement.

Bill Fenech explained that Winnebago is looking to create a “premium outdoor lifestyle company by building a strong portfolio of brands.” One brand being Barletta. He says RV and boating are in the same category because of their connection to the outdoor lifestyle.

“The benefits of [the acquisition] is all pros and no cons,” said Bill Fenech. “This will be a great opportunity for all Barletta employees, only good can come from this.”

Winnebago recently reported its revenues rose 139% to around $1 billion in its most recent quarter ending in May.

With the pandemic of 2020 came a surge in new RV and boating customers. Fenech says he believes the acquisition will prove beneficial for both companies.

Bill Fenech will continue to lead as president of the Barletta business after the transaction closes.