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Bass Pro Shops signs financing deal for Fishing Holdings

GE Capital is expanding its financing program with Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Marine to cover Fishing Holdings LLC.

GE Capital’s commercial finance unit, though up for sale, is expanding its financing program with Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Marine to cover Fishing Holdings LLC, a brand bought out of private equity last year.

Bass Pro Shops acquired Fishing Holdings in December from the Platinum Equity Group. Fishing Holdings is the manufacturer of fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats that include the Ranger, Stratos and Triton brands.

Fishing Holdings will remain an independent company under the Bass Pro group of companies. Bass Pro Shops, which also owns boatbuilder Tracker Marine, has been a CDF customer for more than 25 years and CDF has worked with Fishing Holdings since 1982. The agreement will run through 2018.

GE Capital — the marine industry’s major wholesale lender — announced in April that it will sell its business “to simplify operations.”

General Electric is hoping to reduce the size of GE Capital with the sale of most of its assets so it can focus on investment and growth in its industrial and manufacturing businesses, spokesman Jake Daubenspeck told Trade Only at the time.

Although GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance is among the businesses targeted for disposition, “we’re fully committed to serving our customers and we continue to value our long-standing customer relationships,” Daubenspeck said.

“Our company has a very long relationship with CDF. Their expertise and commitment in the area of dealer floorplan financing has been and continues to be a tremendous benefit,” Fishing Holdings president Randy Hopper said in a statement. “As a part of the Bass Pro group of companies, we expect the CDF relationship to yield even more synergies that will bring value to our dealer network.”

“I anticipate that exceptional benefits will be derived by Bass Pro Shops as they leverage their position of leadership in the marine marketplace,” CDF marine group president Bruce Van Wagoner said. “Bass Pro Shops, along with the dealer networks of Tracker Marine and Fishing Holdings, have a long track record of success in the fish boat market and our team is ready to help the companies make the most of their new relationship.”

California-based Platinum Equity Group’s PBH Marine Group said it had bought the brands out of bankruptcy in 2010, purchasing essentially all of the assets of Genmar Holdings for $70 million. PBH purchased 11 brands, including Ranger, Stratos, Champion, Wellcraft, Four Winns, Larson and Glastron.

Carver and Marquis were purchased for $6.05 million by J&D Acquisitions LLC, a company created by former Genmar owner Irwin Jacobs, along with John Paul DeJoria. Some additional brands were subsequently resold, including the Larson brand, which Jacobs also purchased.

The Ranger and Stratos brands were folded into Fishing Holdings, and Four Winns, Glastron and Wellcraft (and the revived brand Scarab) were rolled into Rec Boat Holdings. PBH also acquired Triton from Brunswick Corp. to add to the Fishing Holdings portfolio.

Rec Boat Holdings was sold to the Beneteau Group last summer.

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