Fishing Industry News: BDT Capital Partners Buys Strike King, Lew's

In the latest fishing industry news, BDT Capital Partners of Chicago has purchased Lew's Holdings including Strike King Lures, Lew's Reels and Hunter Specialties.

Fishing Industry News: BDT Capital Partners Buys Strike King, Lew's

Here is some of the latest news from the fishing industry:

BDT Capital Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Chicago, has made a majority investment in Lew's Holding Corporation, which has Strike King Lure Company, Lew's and Hunters Specialties.

BDT is a merchant bank that provides family- and founder-led businesses with long-term, differentiated capital. It purchased Lew's from Peak Rock Capital and its affiliates, which will exit their investment as the deal closes in the next few weeks.

“We’re excited to partner with Lew’s and support the growth of their leading fishing and outdoors brands,” said Tiffany Hagge, Managing Director at BDT Capital Partners. “Led by industry veterans, Lew’s has a strong following among avid and enthusiastic anglers, a broad distribution network, high-quality products and an impressive innovation track record. Our investment in the company represents an opportunity to partner with an outstanding management team in a growing and dynamic industry. We view this as an attractive platform investment in a sector with significant opportunity for organic growth and consolidation, given the number of founder- and family-owned companies in this expanding category.”

Lew’s will continue to be led by the current CEO, Ken Eubanks, and existing management team. Additional terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

The partnership with BDT will help accelerate growth of Lew's, Strike King and Hunters Specialties toward product innovation and branded fishing offerings.

“We are thrilled that BDT Capital Partners will continue to support Lew’s as a long-term partner in its continued growth. With their expertise and support, we’ll have the resources to further invest in the company’s strategy to provide product innovation for consumers and industry leading retail support and service,” Eubanks said. “BDT brings a long-term focus and extensive experience partnering with and growing iconic brands like ours that have historically been family and founder-owned. They share our values, and their support will be invaluable as we look to continue to drive growth both organically and through acquisitions.”

BDT Capital Partners has raised more than $15 billion across its investment funds, and has created and manages an additional $4.7 billion of co-investments from its global limited partner investor base. 

Mustad Acquires TUF-Line From Western Filament

Mustad has acquired TUF-Line from Western Filament, a Colorado-based manufacturer of synthetic fibers.

“We are thrilled to be adding both the TUF-Line brand and its range of products to our portfolio,” said Jordan Davis, president of O. Mustad & Son Americas. “Adding TUF is a key strategic step in expanding our ability to serve our customers in the Americas, as well as in more than 160 countries where Mustad products are currently sold.”

Mustad is acquiring the TUF-Line brand and assuming the marketing, product development and distribution responsibilities. Western Filament will maintain its manufacturing role through a multi-year supplier agreement.

“We are very excited to announce our partnership with Mustad to develop and grow TUF-Line fishing lines,” said Rex Nelson, president of Western Filament. “We are thrilled to be working with a company that has such a rich history and has been an industry leader for so many years. Through Mustad’s leadership, marketing and expertise of the fishing tackle industry, we are confident that TUF-Line will help Mustad exceed their goals while reaching its true potential as a globally recognized brand.

Mercury Marine Expands Diecast Capabilities With $9 Million Expansion

Mercury Marine has officially opened its 23,500-square-foot expansion to its die-casting facility. The $9 million investment provides needed space for capacity increases, allowing the company to make complex blocks, driveshafts, and gearcases for Mercury’s outboards.

The addition will be filled with large tonnage die casting equipment containing cutting edge technologies that will drive higher quality and better throughput to keep up with increased engine demand, especially with the V8 and V6 product lines.

In addition, Mercury will add another 4,500-ton die-cast machine, giving the company two of the largest of its kind in North America.

“Demand for our V6 and V8 engines have been incredible and we have consistently said we will increase our capacity to ensure we continue to meet and exceed the needs of our customers,” said John Buelow, Mercury Marine vice president of global operations. “This expansion will allow us to stay true to our promise of manufacturing the most reliable engines in the world.”

Mercury has now exceeded $1.14 billion in investment for expansion and R&D since 2008.

Simms New Editor of CrappieNOW

Capt. Richard Simms, a veteran outdoor journalist and fishing guide based in Chattanooga, Tenn., is the new editor of CrappieNOW, a free online digital magazine dedicated to crappie fishing.

Created 10 years ago and now with more than one million annual page views, CrappieNOW provides new information on fishing tips, techniques, destinations, products and news.

Former CrappieNOW Editor Tim Huffman has stepped down for health reasons but will remain on board as a writer.

Simms is the owner and guide of Scenic City Fishing Charters, Inc. in Chattanooga, Tenn., and is a 35-year veteran of the freelance outdoor writing field. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association.

Florida FWC Suspends Harvest, Possession of Shoal Bass

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued an executive order on June 5 suspending the harvest and possession of shoal bass from the Chipola River and its tributaries effective immediately until the order is repealed.

Anglers are still permitted to catch and immediately release shoal bass. 

The shoal bass population in the Chipola River and its tributaries has potentially been affected due to the impacts of Hurricane Michael. Recent sampling efforts have produced significantly lower catches of shoal bass.   

“Shoal bass are one of the least common bass species found in Florida because of their limited range,” said Chris Paxton, regional fisheries administrator for FWC’s Northwest Region. “We are doing everything we can to ensure through proactive conservation actions that the shoal bass population remains healthy, and anglers have the opportunity to enjoy this vibrant and valued bass species for years to come.” 

FWC biologists collected and transported 16 shoal bass from the Chipola River to the Blackwater Fish Hatchery near Holt. The fish will be spawned and potentially supplement the shoal bass population. 

Shoal bass are similar in body shape to largemouth bass. Unlike the largemouth, the shoal bass has scales on the base portion of the second dorsal fin; its first and second dorsal fins are clearly connected, and its upper jaw does not extend past the eye. Shoal bass also lack the dark lateral (down the side) band that largemouth have. Shoal bass have vertical stripes above the midline of the body which resemble tiger stripes. 

The Chipola River is the only waterbody in Florida with a population of naturally reproducing, genetically pure shoal bass. The Chipola River is a spring-fed cold-water river that stretches approximately 95 miles starting north of Marianna and running south through Dead Lake into the Apalachicola River. The Chipola River is located within Jackson, Calhoun and Gulf counties.


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