Dealers weigh in on Hatteras/Cabo sale

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Hatteras and Cabo dealers are fortunate that the brands were bought by a group that believes in letting the builders’ management team run the company, according to the co-owner of a California-based dealer.

John Buettner, co-owner with his brother Brad of California-based Stan Miller Yachts, says he is feeling positive after a principal-dealer telephone meeting with the new Hatteras and Cabo owners Wednesday. Stan Miller Yachts is a Hatteras and Cabo dealer.

“Cabo and Hatteras have the money to invest in new product, and we’re very fortunate to be bought up by this group because they believe in letting the management team run their company, which is really important in the boat business,” Buettner told Trade Only Today. “You can’t be a backseat driver in the boat business. I think this is a really good thing for Hatteras and Cabo, and we look forward to the new relationship.

“Under Brunswick, my experience has always been positive,” Buettner added, “but this is really so much about the economy and what took place, especially in the market segment we’re in. It’s just a process of reviving and putting it back together.”

Navis HCY Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Versa Capital Management LLC, bought Hatteras and Cabo from Brunswick Corp. this week. The brands had been on the market for six months. Versa Capital CEO Gregory Segall said in a statement that he sees a “great opportunity” to build value in the businesses.

The team at Hatteras dealership Boston Yacht Sales is excited about the acquisition, given Versa’s “financial and operational expertise,” said owner Michael Myers.

“Versa has put their confidence into two iconic brands,” Myers told Trade Only Today. “We look forward to learning more about the purchase in upcoming dealer meetings.” Another dealer meeting is planned for later this month.

Yesterday’s phone meeting also served to formally confirm John Ward, whom Brunswick had named interim president of the brands, as president and CEO of Hatteras and Cabo, Buettner said.

“Through a transition, you never know who’s going to end up where,” Buettner said. “Everything’s often speculation until it happens. I have a good relationship with John Ward. He’s got passion.”

Philadelphia-based Versa is a private equity investment firm with $1.3 billion in assets under management. Its portfolio includes Vestis, a group of outdoor retail apparel and equipment stores that includes Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores. Versa also owns Black Angus Steakhouses and Polartec, both of which it successfully brought back to profitability and new growth.

— Reagan Haynes