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Pullmyfinger

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https://www.pjstar.com/sports/20191116/brunswick-shocks-bowling-world-with-ebonite-purchase

Surprised this wasn't posted yet.

Thoughts? 
Celtic586

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That's too bad.  Now 170 US workers out of a job as they'll be moving to Mexico.  Ebonite also owns Hammer, Columbia and Track so now the question is do you boycott everything Brunswick and Ebonite and go with strictly US made equipment.  Even then you'd have to sift through the plastic Mexican or Chinese balls from the other manufacturers. 
themrfreeze

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Reply with quote  #3 
Was about to start a topic on this very thing.

It would seem EBI must have been in a bad way financially to sell off their assets like this and shutter the plant so quickly.  I feel bad for the folks in Kentucky who are losing their jobs but also upset with Brunswick for not making the manufacturing transition smoother...now there will be a dearth of Hammer/C300/Track/Ebonite equipment until they can get production in Mexico up to speed and that does nothing but benefit Brunswick's brands (as well as Storm and 900 Global I guess). 

The long term question with this acquisition is how long all of these brands will continue to exist.    Consolidation in industry is to be expected (especially in a shrinking industry like bowling), but unlike other industries the various brands under the Brunswick umbrella don't have well-defined niches.   If you look at a company like GM, their brands are all well-defined...Chevy is the volume brand, GMC is the truck brand, Buick is the upscale brand, Cadillac is the luxury brand.  None of the various bowling ball brands target a specific segment....they all sell a full-range of equipment.  It's inefficient and IMHO it's just a matter of time until a few brands disappear.  I'm thinking Track will be first and either C300 or Ebonite would be next.  

 
Pullmyfinger

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Reply with quote  #4 
From what I read was the reason for the quick closure of the plant was so no one else bought the plant and started making another line of balls there. I guess this happened somewhere else. Not sure of who that was though. Brunswick had no intentions of pouring any balls there and wanted to empty out the contents immediately.
mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #5 
When anything like this occurs, it is not good, but what is this really going to mean for the bowling industry long term?

Less competition for equipment, so higher prices?

I imagine PBA players who wore the C300, Hammer, EBI jerseys are now do not have a sponsorship deal going forward, or obviously not on a ball staff?




Brownswick

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The acquisition of Ebonite/Hammer/Columbia 300 by Brunswick has many dimensions to it, and some have already been mentioned here.  I'll raise one that hasn't.

It's pure speculation on my part, but it's based on an educated guess.  Let me explain.

In 2014 when Brunswick Corporation set out to get completely out of the bowling business, they had two divisions of their company that dealt with bowling.  First was their bowling centers, or what was once known as Brunswick Recreation Centers.  The sold that entity off to Bowlmor-AMF, who has since become Bowlero Corporation.  When this sale was done, Brunswick licensed their name, Brunswick, to the buyer for a period of five years.  The five years were up earlier in 2019, which is why you saw all the Brunswick Zone houses change their names to Bowlero.  Our center was one of them.

It was about a year or two later that Brunswick Corporation sold off their other bowling-related entity, the side of their company that manufactured and sold bowling equipment, including bowling balls, pinsetters, ball returns, synthetic lanes, scoring systems and all the other equipment you'd need to build a bowling center.  They sold this division of their company to a buyer whose name escapes me.  The buyer had no history in the bowling business; it was a capital investment firm.  Like Bain Capital, perhaps one of the more famous -- or infamous -- capital investment companies, Bain Capital was the one Mitt Romney worked for and made famous when he ran for president.  Bain, and other investment companies, were known for milking every nickel out of companies they bought, and then shutting down what's left once the company had yielded every penny they could suck out of it.  I feared at the time that Brunswick's equipment division might suffer a similar fate, but so far, the company that bought it from Brunswick Corporation seems to have operated it like an actual business, which is good for all of us interested in seeing bowling companies thrive.

But I wonder -- when Brunswick Corporation sold this division of their company to the buyer and current owner, I wonder if Brunswick Corporation (the seller) did the same thing and licensed their name for a finite period of time like they did when they sold their bowling centers to Bowlmor-AMF.  If so, we may be coming up on the five-year mark here in the next year or two.  If that's the case, the new Brunswick (the people now making bowling balls and the rest) might need a new brand name to switch to once the period is up when they get to use the name Brunswick.  And if you have a heritage name like Brunswick, what better name to switch to but another heritage name in the bowling industry.  And the two oldest names in bowling are Brunswick and Ebonite.  Ebonite has been around for about as long as Brunswick in the bowling industry.

So I can't help but wonder if this acquisition was predicated on the new Brunswick's need to find a brand they could become that would allow them to maintain a heritage position in the industry.  Is it possible that in the coming years, all things with the Brunswick brand might change to Ebonite as a result of this move?

All we know so far is that the company intends to continue selling Ebonite, Hammer and Columbia 300 balls under their same brand names, and that production will simply move to the Brunswick plant.  Too bad for the employees in Kentucky who have lost their jobs.  Merry Christmas, everybody!  But nothing has been said about whether BRUNSWICK balls, pinsetters, ball returns, synthetic lanes and the rest will continue being sold under the name Brunswick.  if Brunswick Corporation gave the buyers of Brunswick equipment manufacturing the same kind of deal, 5 years, to transition from that brand name to their own, an acquisition of a big name in the bowling business like Ebonite makes a world of sense.

Although I'm sure most of us will have a very hard time getting used to calling them the Ebonite A2 or Ebonite GSX pinsetters.

It's just a theory, but when Brunswick Corporation sold off their bowling divisions, you got the sense that they wanted COMPLETELY OUT of the bowling business.  And the best way to do that is not only selling off their bowling-involved divisions, but to also to make sure the buyers of those divisions have to give up the Brunswick brand name within a period of time.  Brunswick Corporation has long made the lion's share of their money on boats and pool tables (especially boats, which are big ticket items, and they have a ton of boat brands -- some of which I'll bet you've heard of even if you're not into boating).  If they want to build that brand, it would behoove them to shed whatever connection they have to bowling and get the buyers of their old bowling divisions to move on and get their own name.

I have no knowledge about this 5-year licensing of the name Brunswick to the bowling equipment side of the business when they sold it to the investment company.  But I know for a fact that's what they did when they sold their bowling centers.  So it's not without precedent.  I can't help but wonder if this had something to do with the new Brunswick's acquisition of another heritage brand like Ebonite.  There's not another older one in the business.

Just a thought.


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themrfreeze

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Reply with quote  #7 
An interesting idea Randy.  It would seem to me, however, that the Brunswick name has much more value in regards to the ball/equipment business than it does with the bowling centers.  Renaming the bowling centers is probably something AMF/BowlMor/whatever was probably going to do anyway and they just needed time to make the transition.  However, the loss of the Brunswick name in regards to the equipment business seems like it could do some serious harm and devalue the business.  If it were me, buying that side of the business would include being able to somehow use the Brunswick name in perpetuity...like naming the business "Brunswick Bowling" instead of just "Brunswick". 

If you look at the websites, "brunswick.com" is the old company and "brunswickbowling.com" is the equipment company...maybe that lends some credence to the naming idea.



Oldbowler

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My question is:  Does the dissolution of Brunswick in the bowling industry mean anything beyond the knowledgeable few in places like this?  I had no clue Brunswick made boats, until I read it here.  I suspect the same goes for 80 % or more of bowlers.  Brunswick is just a name with no meaning.  You could call a bowling ball Hamaguchi and if it's cheap enough and colorful enough, it will sell to the average bowler.
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Brownswick

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Reply with quote  #9 

If you're into bowling, you know the name Brunswick.  If you're into boating or pool or billiards, you know the name Brunswick.  It's been around for over 100 years in all those industries.

Corporate big-wigs, or "suits," as we always liked to call them, have a huge ego.  Most of them believe their corporate name carries far more weight than it actually does.  That's probably because their whole world revolves in the center of that brand's universe.  So they assume it has a similar impact with everyone else.

I'm not saying they're right or wrong.  I'm just saying that's how a lot of suits think.  So it would make sense if they were wanting to divorce themselves from the bowling industry to sever ties between their brand name and bowling altogether.  I mean, think about it.  Some Brunswick executive is at his country club and it comes up that he's with Brunswick.  The first thing someone's liable to ask is, "Oh, the bowling company, right?"  And now that they're not, they probably would like to start distancing themselves from bowling so those questions will die off over time.


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mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #10 
Boating is really their main source or revenue.....here are some recent developments for Brunswick.......

As of the early 21st century, the Brunswick Corporation still manufactured sporting and fitness equipment (Life Fitness, Hammer Strength, Parabody) in addition to boats (Sea RayBaylinerMaxum, etc.) and marine engines under the Mercury Marine brand name.

In 2004, Brunswick acquired Lowe Boats. The same year, the company also purchased Northstar Technologies, a leading marine electronics provider based in Acton, Massachusetts, from Canadian Marconi Corporation (now CMC Electronics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Esterline Technologies Corporation). Brunswick then merged Navman, based in Auckland, New Zealand, with Northstar to make Northstar/Navman a supplier to the Brunswick Boat Groups. Brunswick also acquired Mx-Marine. When George Buckley, CEO at the time, left to join 3M in 2006, new leadership decided to sell Northstar, Navman and Mx-Marine. Navico now owns those three brands in addition to the Eagle, Lowrance, B&G, and Simrad lines.

On November 9, 2006, the company announced that it was closing two plants and downsizing the workforce by 650 employees, citing low demand for new boats. Numerous other layoffs occurred prior to this in the Brunswick New Technologies division.

Brunswick reports that in the past five years, their international sales have grown at twice the rate of domestic sales. It has established regional headquarters in Verviers, Belgium; MonterreyDandenong, Australia; and Dubai to better serve its customers by designing, engineering, manufacturing and distributing products based on local needs, using local talent.[13]

On July 17, 2014, Brunswick announced its intention to leave the bowling business by the end of 2014. The company disclosed that it had agreed to sell its bowling center business, which brought in $187 million in revenue in the prior year, to competitor Bowlmor AMF (now known as Bowlero Corporation) for $270 million. It also disclosed that it had retained Lazard to find a buyer for its bowling equipment and products business. The company said it was making these changes to focus on its “core” Marine and Fitness businesses, which provided 92% of company net revenues in 2013. It would retain its heritage billiards business and report billiards financial results as part of the Fitness segment.[14] The sale of the bowling center business to Bowlmor AMF (Bowlero) was completed in September 2014.[15]

Brunswick completed its exit from the bowling business in May 2015 with the sale of its bowling equipment and products division to BlueArc Capital Management, a private investment firm based in Atlanta, GA. BlueArc completed the acquisition with investments from Gladstone Investment Corporation, a publicly traded business development company in McLean, Virginia, and Capitala Finance Corp., a business development company in Charlotte, North Carolina. BlueArc continues to produce bowling balls under the Brunswick and DV8 brand names,[16] and on November 15, 2019, it acquired Ebonite International and all of its bowling product brands.[17]

In 2018, the company announced it would be separating the Fitness business as Life Fitness Holdings in 2019.[18][19]

In May 2019, Brunswick announced it would be purchasing the largest marine franchisor in the United States, Freedom Boat Club.[20]

Also in May 2019, Brunswick announced its intention to sell its interest in Brunswick BilliardsCybex, Hammer Strength, Indoor Cycling Group, Life Fitness, and SCIFIT for $ 490 million to KPS Capital Partners.[21] The sale was completed in June 2019.

mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #11 
This is from the CEO of Brunswick's letter:

We reported excellent results in 2018 and begin 2019 with strong momentum. We finished 2018 with adjusted net sales of approximately $5.1 billion, an increase of 9.1 percent from $4.7 billion in 2017. The Company also delivered record operating earnings, as adjusted, of $572.4 million, up 9.0 percent from $525.0 million in 2017. Earnings per share, as adjusted, for 2018 were $4.77, up 19.0 percent from $4.01 in 2017, representing our ninth consecutive year of adjusted EPS growth.


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