The sale of Genmar's boat lines dominates the list of Trade Only Today's top 10 online stories of 2010.
Trade Only's top story of the year - and most-read story of all time - came Jan. 8 when it was announced that Platinum Equity, a private equity firm in California, purchased the majority of Genmar's boat lines. Platinum Equity bought "essentially all the assets" of Genmar Holdings for $70 million. Genmar founder Irwin Jacobs, along with John Paul DeJoria, purchased the Carver and Marquis brands for $6.05 million, and MCBC Hydra Boats purchased Hydra-Sports for $1 million.
Platinum later sold some of the brands back to Jacobs and DeJoria's J&D Acquisitions, and that was the second-most-read story of 2010.
On Jan. 21, it was announced that J&D Acquisitions purchased several Genmar businesses from Platinum Equity, including the Larson, Seaswirl and FinCraft brands. The transaction also included the Larson Boat factory in Little Falls, Minn., the VEC Technology company in Greenville, Pa., and Triumph Boat Co. and its Durham, N.C., factory. The purchase also included the Seaswirl Boat factory in Culver, Ore., Windsor Craft assets and other miscellaneous assets.
President Barack Obama dominated Trade Only headlines Feb. 3 when he said during a speech in New Hampshire: "When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same."
Obama's comments gave us the third-most-read story of the year and generated the most comments from readers of any story we've published.
Rounding out the top five stories of 2010 are two pertaining to Genmar's bankruptcy auction. No. 4 is "Judge OKs Genmar auction results," which ran Jan. 14, and No. 5 is "Genmar auction gets under way," which ran Jan. 7.
The No. 6 story of the year, "Unsecured creditors want Genmar auction results thrown out," ran Jan. 11. The creditors committee said the aggregate amount of the prevailing bids would not satisfy the secured claims and the Chapter 11 administrative expense claims, and would provide nothing for the prepetition unsecured creditors as a group. An estimated 4,000 unsecured creditors were owed more than $100 million, according to court documents.
On Aug. 4, Trade Only Today ran a story about a professional angler who had been caught cheating by stuffing lead sinkers down the throats of fish he submitted for weigh-ins. "Bass tournament officials: Angler caught cheating" is the No. 7 story of 2010.
The eighth-most-read story of the year is also the most recent entry on the list. On Dec. 10, Reggie Fountain surprised the industry when he announced his resignation from the company he had founded more than 30 years ago. Fountain cited differences in "opinion and philosophy" between himself and the new owners as the reason for his departure.
The America's Cup also made headlines in 2010, and a story posted Jan. 25, "America's Cup squabbles go down to the wire," is No. 9. Two weeks before the regatta's Feb. 8 start in Valencia, Spain, Cup holder Alinghi and challenger BMW Oracle Racing were in New York Supreme Court arguing about what the Deed of Gift says about making a Cup boat's sails in the country of its sponsoring club. BOR said the Swiss team's sails violated the Deed of Gift because they were made in the United States, not Switzerland. Alinghi said the DOG's "built-in-country" rule applies only to the boat, not the sails and, in any event, its sails were built at home.
The 10th-most-read story of the year, "Florida brokerage found liable for misrepresentation," ran May 5. A Fort Lauderdale yacht brokerage - HMY Yacht Sales - was found liable for $1.7 million in damages after a Rhode Island man filed suit alleging that the 66-foot yacht he bought in 2007 was "unseaworthy."
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue.