Benchmark International successfully facilitated the transaction of YakGear, Inc., a paddle sports and marine accessories distributor, to two buyers, T-H Marine Supplies, LLC and Nautical Group International Holdings Limited. YakGear Inc., based in Houston, Texas, also has operating agreements to provide RAILBLAZA products throughout North America, as well as distribution agreements with several other third-party water sports brands.
YakGear Inc. is an industry-leading supplier of kayak equipment, paddle sports accessories, and boat-mounting accessories to individual consumers, as well as distributors across the United States via e-commerce and retail sales. The company has several partnerships with big-box retailers, distribution outlets, and e-commerce channels such as Amazon to market and reach a wide audience.
“I wanted to take the time to thank [Benchmark International] for all the hard work y’all did to make selling the company an easy thing. From the early beginning of the adventure, I knew I had someone to rely on and count on for conversation and guidance. It was a long road, over two years, but you brought many competent buyers to the table, it was just me looking for the right one to continue the tradition my team and I had built into YakGear for 17 years.” -Bill Bragman Founder of YakGear Inc.
Nautical Group Holdings (NGH) acquired all assets of YakGear Inc. that relate to RAILBLAZA distribution, including associated stock and direct-to-consumer (DTC) accounts. RAILBLAZA USA Inc. (RAILBLAZA USA) will operate as a 100% owned subsidiary of NGH from Houston, Texas, managing all RAILBLAZA operations and sales distribution to the North American market.
NGH aims to achieve a dominant market position for each of its niche portfolio brands while accelerating an innovation focus with speed to market while assisting portfolio companies to build out governance and corporate functions to a higher level of maturity to support growth. It will capitalize on a broad range of well-developed relationships with global distributors, partners, and customers, supplying best-in-class solutions.
Commenting on the transaction, CEO of NGH, Marc Michel, said, “Our thanks to the YakGear team who have done an amazing job of establishing and growing RAILBLAZA in the US market. This is a strategic acquisition to accelerate our momentum in the US market and put in place a focused RAILBLAZA team.”
The remaining assets of YakGear Inc. have been acquired by TH Marine, a division of OneWater (NASDAQ: ONEW). T-H Marine has grown to be one of the largest suppliers of marine parts and accessories in the United States. T-H Marine is based in Huntsville, Alabama, where it provides various products, including jack plates, outboard tilt and trim controls, rigging components, boat plumbing, hatches, LED lights, live well aeration, and more.
“Since 2006, YakGear Founder and President Bill Bragman and his team have done a remarkable job providing accessories to kayak, canoe, and stand up paddleboard enthusiasts, earning YakGear’s reputation as a household name among their audience,” said Jeff Huntley Sr., Chief Executive Officer for T-H Marine. “We’re thrilled to add the YakGear team, including Jerron Wosel, YakGear’s Director of Procurement and now President of the YakGear division, to T-H Marine, along with their expansive portfolio of paddle sport products. YakGear’s strong multi-channel approach to the aftermarket complements our platform and provides exposure to an entirely new set of paddle sports retailers and consumers, giving T-H Marine a stronger foothold in the space.”
“Representing an industry leader like YakGear was an honor for our team and are confident the acquiring parties will continue to grow within their niche and benefit from this transaction.” Brenda Spencer, Transaction Director said, “we wish success to all in their future endeavors”.
Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 / Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com
Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 / Enquiries@BenchmarkIntl.com
Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com
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Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $8.25B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted thousands of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.