Dealers cautious on effects of Nautic Global Group sale

The recent sale of Nautic Global Group and all of its brands to Bennington Marine came as a surprise to some in the industry.
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The recent sale of Nautic Global Group and all of its brands to Bennington Marine came as a surprise to some in the industry and dealers that carried the brands expressed both excitement and a bit of apprehension about the transaction.

Saratoga Boatworks manager Josh Mance said he was surprised to hear that Bennington, producer of a single line of pontoons, will be buying all of the NGG brands — a portfolio his company carries in its entirety.

“I think the surprising thing was that they took on everybody. It seems some of them are more profitable than others,” Mance told Trade Only Today.

He believes it is too soon to offer much of an opinion about the sale, but he did express curiosity about what will happen with the Bennington dealer across the street.

“That is a big question that we have yet to still work out,” Mance said. “That’s a big unknown.”

That dealership carries several competing brands, Mance said, and is not fully committed to Bennington. “They have multiple lines of pontoons,” he said, adding that Bennington is a competitor to some of the NGG pontoon lines his Saratoga, N.Y., dealership sells.

But he thinks there will be time to get it all worked out before the boat show season, which happens for his dealership later in the winter.

“We have plenty of time to get stuff figured out,” he said. “We’re still committed to Godfrey. We’re placing orders right now.

One Water Marine is the name of a new venture resulting from a merger between Singleton Marine and Legendary Marine a year ago, and it has about 28 locations. Three of those locations carry Bennington, said One Water manager Scott Cunningham.

“Although Legendary had a great relationship with NGG, we are looking forward to the opportunities in having a company as strong as Bennington take over the operations,” Cunningham said. “With their expertise in the fast-growing saltwater pontoon market segment, we are optimistic that the Bennington way of doing things will carry through all the NGG product lines.”

Portland Shelton, marketing manager for Anglers Choice Marine, which has three locations in Virginia and North Carolina, said its Lexington, N.C., outlet carries Bennington and Hurricane, but in Martinsville, Va., Harris is the pontoon sold.

However, if someone called one store and wanted the other brand, they would be transferred to the store that carries it, she said. “It just seems like different customers are used to certain brands on their lake, or areas close to them,” she said. “They’re able to talk to neighbors or friends about Hurricane or Harris or Bennington. The price points are different, too.”

“We just went through this when Johnny Morris bought everything bass boat,” she said. “Ranger, Triton, Tracker, Nitro, now he’s got the whole gamut, and those were all competing brands before the purchase.”

The consolidation has made it easier to manage the brands logistically, she said.

“Now with Nautic Global, many of what used to be competing brands for us will all be under the same umbrella,” she said. When she heard about the acquisition, Shelton called Lexington, N.C., sales manager Mark Mullies, who seemed excited about the deal.

“He was looking forward to streamlining of the order platform and inventory,” she said.

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