Platinum Equity
Mergers. Acquisitions. Operations.

Mergers. Acquisitions. Operations.

Feature Story

Commitment Over Complexity:
Acquiring PBH Marine

A solutions-oriented approach to a complex bankruptcy nets our latest acquisition: boat maker PBH Marine Group

Platinum Equity Portfolio Company Genmar is one of the world’s largest builders of recreational and fishing boats.Platinum acquired two manufacturing facilities along with five of PBH Marine Group’s top boat making brands, including Ranger.The Asset

With approximately 1,000 employees and some of the top recreational and fishing boat bands, PBH Marine Group is among the world’s largest boat makers. It manufactures and markets boats under the brand names Four Winns, Glastron, Ranger, Stratos, Wellcraft, and its boats are sold through a worldwide network of thousands of dealers. PBH Marine Group manufactures and markets boats under several brand names including Four Winns, Glastron, Ranger, Stratos, and Wellcraft. PBH Marine Group boats are sold through a worldwide network of over 1,000 dealers.

At Issue

Global economic downturn hurt the recreational boat market, including premiere boat maker PBH Marine Group. After six months of reorganization under bankruptcy protection, PBH Marine Group began aggressively pursuing a sale process to relieve its predicament. PBH Marine Group is an operationally complex asset with thirteen diverse brands and eight decentralized facilities. Multiple parties in the bankruptcy with different interests included management, employees, and the estate. It took hard work, flexibility, and a steady hand to achieve resolution—making Platinum the right buyer for the deal.

Closing In

Our diligence process was accelerated and exhaustive. Unwilling to rely solely on financial models, we studied all thirteen PBH Marine Group brands and visited each of its eight manufacturing facilities. With brands and manufacturing facilities in remote locations, it took a dedicated Platinum team traveling to out-of-the-way places such as Flippin, Arkansas; Cadillac, Michigan; and Little Falls, Minnesota. Eighteen hours a day, seven days a week for nearly three weeks we met with management teams, employees, bankers, and dealers--nearly everyone who had an interest in the deal.

By sending people from our M&A, finance, IT, operations, HR, and legal departments out to PBH Marine Group facilities, we came to understand not only the deal but the company itself. We also built relationships that would be key in the transaction and moving forward with operating the company.

Reaching Agreement

Meeting in person with all the interested parties in the bankruptcy and discussing the situation openly and honestly was a primary task for our team. The deal hinged on bringing everyone together and hammering out a plan that satisfied all interests.

On November 30, 2009 PBH Marine Group selected Platinum Equity as the stalking horse bidder in the auction process and on January 7, 2010 the Bankruptcy Court approved, in part because it saw the completeness of our solution. We worked tirelessly to address every detail then closed the deal just 15 days later.

Simultaneous Divestiture

Simultaneously, we collaborated with a strategic buyer on a deal to divest select PBH Marine Group assets that were non-core to our investment thesis. By acquiring the entire suite of PBH Marine Group assets we provided a complete solution that appealed to the constituents in the bankruptcy. And by divesting certain assets immediately afterward we created the optimum post-bankruptcy situation for all the PBH Marine Group assets. “Platinum is exactly who we need to be
partnered with. They spent a lot of time
understanding the company.”
Randy Hopper, President, Ranger Boats

Moving Ahead

Our commitment during diligence fostered key relationships within the company that were critical to closing the deal and gave us insights that are leading our transition and operational plans.

At the forefront is establishing operational efficiencies in both the organization and its manufacturing. Our focus is on growing the six brands we acquired, including flagship bass fishing brand Ranger and prestige recreational brands Four Winns and Glastron. By centralizing certain operations and establishing Six Sigma manufacturing processes, we can achieve economies of scale as well as more efficiencies across its brands. Working with GE Financial and PBH Marine Group’s strong dealer network, we intend to create a sustainable environment that will outlast the current economy.

Platinum Equity has a rich history of successfully navigating complex deals in many industries. Not all involve travel to rural Arkansas, but each has nuances that require dedication from our teams and a commitment to resolution. It’s a specialty that we focus on because we know these are companies that will benefit and thrive with our operational insight.

The PBH Marine Group acquisition once again proves our dedication to finding complete solutions even in intensely complex deals.

The PBH Marine Group deal took hard work, flexibility, and a steady hand to achieve resolution—which made Platinum the right buyer for the deal.