West Marine and financial partner Monomoy Capital have entered into an agreement under which private equity firm L Catterton will take a controlling interest in the company’s ownership, West Marine announced in late April. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

West Marine operates 237 locations in 38 states and Puerto Rico, as well as two e-commerce platforms reaching domestic, international and professional customers. The company was founded in 1968 as West Coast Ropes and opened its first retail location in Palo Alto, Calif., eight years later. Following the acquisition of a competitor in 1977, the name was changed to West Marine.

The company’s strategy of transforming retail stores into robust product centers will continue. 

The company’s strategy of transforming retail stores into robust product centers will continue. 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with L Catterton in the next phase of growth for West Marine,” West Marine CEO Ken Seipel said in a statement. “The L Catterton team brings invaluable consumer, brand-building and digital expansion expertise to help us accelerate our growth plans.”

L Catterton has experience investing in enthusiast consumer brands that include Truck Hero, Peloton and Heartland RV, among others. “The U.S. marine aftermarket industry is a fundamentally attractive category benefiting from favorable consumer tailwinds, including long-term growth in boating usage for leisure and time spent with family, higher focus on outdoor lifestyle activities including water sports and fishing, and the rise of boat sharing and clubs bringing more people into the category,” said Matt Lischick, partner at L Catterton.

“West Marine stands out as the leader in the category, and we look forward to partnering with Ken and his proven leadership team to further build the company’s authority as the go-to, consumer-centric marine aftermarket player. 

This article was originally published in the June 2021 issue.

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