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Major acquisitions are continuing this summer with Brunswick Corp.’s purchase of Norway-based Navico, the parent company of Lowrance, B&G, Simrad and C-MAP, for $1.05 billion. The Navico brands will become part of Brunswick’s Advanced Systems Group, bolstering the suite of brands in power management, digital control and monitoring, and networked devices.

“We found our dream home,” Navico CEO and president Knut Frostad said on a call with journalists. “We see tremendous improvement in driving seamless system integration.”

Lowrance’s midrange fishfinder/plotters are a popular choice 
with freshwater anglers.   

Lowrance’s midrange fishfinder/plotters are a popular choice with freshwater anglers.   

Brunswick CEO David Foulkes echoed Frostad’s comments. “The acquisition of Navico and its award-winning brands will immediately accelerate Brunswick’s ACES — autonomy, connectivity, electrification and shared access — strategy and support our vision to deliver distinctive new products and technology-enabled experiences,” Foulkes says. “The addition of [Navico] to our existing brand portfolio will further strengthen our ability to provide complete, innovative digital solutions to consumers, and comprehensive, integrated systems offerings to our OEM customers.”

Navico — formerly a privately held company owned by Altor Fund IV and Goldman Sachs Asset Management — reported revenues of $470 million in the 12-month period that ended May 31.

Knut Frostad

Knut Frostad

Its 2,000-plus employees are based mainly in Spain, the United States, Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Frostad became CEO and president in 2019. Brunswick expects the acquisition to contribute immediately to its parts and accessories segment, which accounted for $1.5 billion, about 35 percent, of 2020 revenues. With Navico’s offerings, Brunswick expects returns from parts and accessories to exceed $2 billion.

Brett Dibkey

Brett Dibkey

“Navico solidifies our commitment to creating an unmatched boater and OEM experience,” says Brett Dibkey, Advanced Systems Group president. “We are also adding a talented, experienced and consumer-focused management team, which is expected to remain in place and play a major role in the execution of our strategy.”

Dibkey also addressed some of the overlap between the brands — in particular, MotorGuide and Lowrance trolling motors. “There is going to be a role for both brands,” Dibkey says. “It will give [us] a platform to reach more anglers.”

Questions went unanswered regarding the integration of Navico brands with Brunswick hulls, and whether customers would be able to order a boat with a choice of other electronics packages. But Dibkey did say that the Advanced Systems Group functions as a separate entity from
Brunswick’s Boat Group and Mercury, and cited the group’s work with other OEMs.

Frostad brought up sustainability efforts at Brunswick as another attractive quality of Navico’s new parent company. Earlier this year, Navico announced that it was transitioning to 100 percent recyclable and sustainable packaging for new products, and had hired the company’s first chief sustainability officer.

“What means the most is [that] we were acquired by someone who wants to be in the same boat,” Frostad says. “This is an industry that lives on that passion.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of this year. 

This article was originally published in the August 2021 issue.

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