Winnebago Agrees to Buy Barletta Pontoon Boats

Winnebago Industries Inc., maker of its namesake motor home, has agreed to buy privately-held Barletta Pontoon Boats for more than $300 million in a deal that will further expand its marine business.

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago will pay $255 million upfront in cash and stock, and as much as $65 million if the boat manufacturer meets certain performance milestones over the next two and a half years, according to a statement provided to Bloomberg News.

Winnebago rose 7% on the news to $68.31 at 2:52 p.m. in New York on Tuesday.

Barletta, based in Bristol, Indiana, is owned by brothers Ronald Fenech and William Fenech, who founded it in 2017. William Fenech will remain the president of Barletta, within the newly created marine division. Winnebago already owns the luxury boat manufacturer Chris-Craft, which it acquired in 2018.

Pontoon boats are usually used in lakes and can be used for a variety of family activities, making it a fast-growing part of the boating market, Winnebago’s President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Happe said in an interview.

“They’re safe and stable and exciting. You can do a lot of things besides cruising around the lake,” Happe said. “You can wakeboard and water ski and inner tube.”

Happe added that the pandemic has introduced a lot of new consumers to outdoor recreation, a trend that’s here to stay.

“We don’t believe it will be a short-term pandemic lift,” he said. “We are bringing new customers into these lifestyles.”

Barletta had earnings of $10.5 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization on revenue of $120.6 million in 2020. It is expected to generate $215 million in revenue this year. It’s the third largest acquisition by Winnebago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Analysts like the move, including KeyBanc’s Brett Andress, who called Barletta a “natural fit.”

Winnebago builds motor homes, travel trailers and boats with brands including Grand Design, and Newmar.

Lazard Ltd. advised Winnebago on the deal.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.