Hinckley parent company acquires Hunt Yachts

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Hinckley Company owner Scout Partners LLC purchased Hunt Yachts, a move both company presidents say makes sense.

“It’s exciting,” Hinckley president Jim McManus told Trade Only Today. “If you think about two brands that really make sense together, it’s Hunt and Hinckley. Both have extraordinary heritages.”

“I couldn’t have designed a more ideal scenario for us,” Hunt Yachts president Peter Van Lancker told Trade Only. “We should be good siblings and Scout understands the business and is committed to the business.”

The two companies are looking to leverage marketing, service and sales opportunities for both brands, which will remain autonomous. “The brands are intended to be different and hit different markets,” Van Lancker said. “Initially there’s a great deal of autonomy. Essentially nothing has changed.”

“The first order of business is to take advantage of the low-hanging fruit with synergies in marketing sales and service,” Van Lancker said. “They have a bigger distribution system and they have a good presence in the industry.”

The two companies have their headquarters next door to each other in Portsmouth, R.I., McManus pointed out. “From a culture standpoint and a people standpoint, it’s fun. We’re creating an atmosphere where people share the same values. We’ve had a number of Hunt employees who were former Hinckley employees. It’s really fun the way people work together under the umbrella of Scout Partners. Basically we work to help each other become more successful as companies.”

Hunt Yachts, which will operate under the name Hunt Yachts LLC, will continue to build boats in Rhode Island and Taiwan, and Hinckley will continue to build in Maine.

McManus said the purchase was “totally consistent” with the rationale David Howe used in buying The Hinckley Company in 2010. Scout, a partnership between Howe and Peterson Capital LLC, was created specifically to work closely with U.S.-based companies that show long-term success potential.

“They’re both New England brands, and David Howe developed an appreciation — I didn’t realize it — for Hunt as a young man,” Van Lancker said. “He understands what it is, understands its place in history and he wants to support it.”

“What he saw was a great American brand that had a real opportunity to grow in a few different areas,” McManus said. “One is in new product. Second is geographic expansion by being able to bring the product to new markets. We just put a new sales director out on the West Coast, which has been awesome. We sold four boats out there in the last few months. To expand service was really his rationale. When the Hunt opportunity presented itself we really made a case for David that it offered all the same opportunities as Hinckley.”

Hunt hasn’t made specific plans for new product development, but will be exploring that opportunity over time, Van Lancker said, adding that “it’s not something I’m going to rush.”

The company will maintain the same relationship it has had with C. Raymond Hunt Associates as the exclusive designer of its product line of powerboats from 25 to 74 feet.

“We see the Hunt product line as more complementary than competitive with the Hinckley product line,” McManus said. “In terms of size there is some overlap, but given relative price points there are still some differentiations. There is definitely product opportunity with Hunt, there is a geographic expansion opportunity in bringing the brand to new markets and there is also an opportunity to expand service by offering Hunt owners service through the Hinckley service yards.”

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— Reagan Haynes


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