Malibu Acquires Maverick Boat Group

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Cobia boats complement Pursuit, the offshore brand that Malibu Boats acquired in 2019 (Cobia 262 shown).

Cobia boats complement Pursuit, the offshore brand that Malibu Boats acquired in 2019 (Cobia 262 shown).

Malibu Boats acquired Maverick Boat Group, which comprises the Cobia, Pathfinder, Maverick, and Hewes brands, for about $150 million, funded with cash on hand and borrowings under its credit facility.

The purchase allows Malibu “to leverage our strong growth momentum while expanding manufacturing capacity, product development and distribution opportunities,” CEO Jack Springer said during a conference call this morning.

Cobia serves the center console and sportfishing segment, Pathfinder is a bay-boat brand, and Maverick and Hewes are flats boats, Springer said.

He said Cobia is complementary to Pursuit, the offshore center console brand that Malibu purchased in October 2018.

The relationship between Pursuit and Cobia is similar to that of premium towboat brand Malibu and the company’s more value-driven Axis line, Springer said.

“Pathfinder, which is a bay boat, does not compete with Pursuit,” he said. “Cobia is very complimentary to Pursuit.”

Pathfinder expands Malibu’s offerings in the under-30-foot segment (Pathfinder 2200 shown).

Pathfinder expands Malibu’s offerings in the under-30-foot segment (Pathfinder 2200 shown).

Cobia has a strong presence at boat clubs, another attractive point for Malibu.

Maverick Boat Co., founded in 1984 by Scott Deal, operates out of two manufacturing facilities in Fort Pierce, Fla. The company has invested $7 million in a 277,000-square-foot expansion on a 38-acre site. The first phase of the expansion, which was completed in 2018, added a 106,250-square-foot facility to build larger boats, Deal told Trade Only Today at the time.

Malibu will look to complete that expansion “sooner rather than later,” Springer said.

Discussions for the sale began in early 2019, but having just closed the Pursuit acquisition, the timing wasn’t quite right, Springer said. The Maverick purchase now fits into Malibu’s “defined and successful M&A strategy,” he said.

“Scott’s run a great business; he’s been very frugal,” Springer said. “Scott is going to stay with us and have a role in the company. Like Cobalt and Pursuit, the people are the most important thing. They are the ones building the boats. Our intent is to keep every single person.”

The group has 70-plus dealers around the country.

“As a strong, recognized player in the center console and bay boat category, Maverick is a fantastic addition to our portfolio of industry-leading brands and underscores the strength of our M&A strategy,” Springer said in a statement.

The acquisition expands Malibu’s saltwater outboard offerings with a strong focus in the under-30-feet segment, Springer said.

“Maverick will allow us to not only leverage strong growth momentum, but also increase production capacity and seize previously untapped demand,” he said. “We see an amazing opportunity ahead of us as we leverage the strengths of Malibu and Maverick to continue to deliver innovative boats to our customers while driving long-term growth and profitability for our shareholders.”

In connection with the acquisition, Malibu added a $25 million incremental term loan facility to its existing credit facility and increased the available borrowing capacity under its revolving credit facility to $170 million.

The acquisition is anticipated to be immediately accretive, excluding purchase accounting and acquisition costs.

“Over the last 35 years, Maverick has prioritized its culture on building strong relationships with our team members and customers while maintaining a continued focus on performance and productivity,” Deal said. “Malibu is a perfect partner that shares the same passion for boating, coupled with its ability to drive long-term, profitable growth.”

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