High-performance stalwart Cigarette Racing has been acquired in a deal brokered by investment firm Lionheart Capital and entrepreneur John H. Ruiz.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 1969 by world champion offshore racer and builder Don Aronow, the company has been owned by Skip Braver since 2002. Braver oversaw the brand’s transformation, inking deals with Mercedes AMG and Ducati motorcycles that expanded the customer base beyond the go-fast, poker run crowd.
“After 20 years of building the Cigarette product line and brand, I look forward to seeing Ophir and John's vision for the company become a reality,” said Braver in a statement. “Lionheart Capital and John H. Ruiz share my commitment to quality and performance, as well as my passion for Cigarette's brand, and I’m confident in their ability to take the company to even greater heights based on their own successful ventures, resources and business knowledge."
Lionheart founder and CEO Ophir Sternberg said that new ownership is confident that the brand can continue to grow.
“[We] look forward to taking the company into its next chapter where we build upon the legacy of the brand and create significant value in the future through powerful partnerships and unique collaborations, production amplification and increased distribution channels," said Sternberg.
Co-owner Ruiz — who has owned several Cigarette Racing vessels — looks to take the company into new directions by continuing to match the high-performance boats with the latest innovative materials and safety features.
“Cigarette Racing is such an iconic American name in the world of boating, that it is truly an honor to be a part of the continuation of its legacy that's been going strong for over 50 years,” Ruiz said. “I believe that the brand is on the verge of a new wave of acceleration. [We] look forward to taking it into unchartered waters.” The company celebrated 50 years of offshore racing with the launch of the 59-foot Tirranna in 2019.