EagleTree Capital has acquired saltwater fishing boat builder Invincible Boat Company, and company founder Alex Lipworth will continue to guide product development.
John Dorton, former CEO of EagleTree portfolio company MasterCraft Boat Company, has joined Invincible as CEO. Dorton most recently led Bryant Boats until the company was sold to Correct Craft.
“Invincible has been really successful, but now it’s ready to shift to the next gear,” Dorton told Trade Only Today, adding that EagleTree is a “hands-off” private equity group.
“The cats will be a big part of the story going forward,” said Dorton. “We’ve got four cat models now and three new cat models coming down the line. It’s also a pretty hardcore fishing boat, and we’ll continue to maintain that.”
Invincible was founded in 2006 by Lipworth, an entrepreneur and competitive fisherman. Dorton’s son Ben will leave Heyday Boats, where he stayed for four years after selling the brand to Brunswick, to be Invincible’s brand vice president. Scott Woods, who was head of product at MasterCraft, is also part of the Invincible team, said Dorton.
About 50 percent of the semi-custom boats are sold direct from the Opa Locka, Fla., facility, and the other half are sold through a dealer network.
“We would only sell direct to the territory we’re designated,” said Dorton. “If a guy calls from New Hampshire, we’ll send him to the New Hampshire dealer. We don’t compete with dealers.”
Fishing has always been a big part of the Dortons’ lives, he said.
“I ran Hydra-Sports for three years before selling it to the current owner,” said Dorton. “We’ve fished out of our Hilton Head, S.C., home since the 80s. It’s in our blood. We will both be a part of the company fishing team.”
The boats will continue to be powered by twin to quad outboard motors from Mercury or Yamaha.
The infusion of new capital and resources should accelerate Invincible’s growth, said EagleTree co-managing partner George Majoros Jr. Lipworth said he’s looking forward to speeding up new product development, growing the manufacturing capacity and enhancing the customer experience and dealer support systems.
“I’m a big believer in the premium saltwater fishing category as one of the most stable in the industry, with passionate customers that recognize quality and performance,” said Dorton in a statement.
VRA Partners served as financial advisor and Holland and Knight LLP served as legal advisor to Invincible. Jones Day served as legal advisor to EagleTree.