Seawall Capital, the private equity owner of Kent Watersports, announced the company’s rebranding to Kent Outdoors and the acquisition of BOTE and Kona Bicycles. It said the rebranding and acquisitions would help the company better serve America’s growing interest in the great outdoors on and off the water.
“Americans are enjoying the outdoors in record numbers,” said Matt Eby, founder, Seawall Capital and Chairman of the Board of Kent Outdoors. “Everyone knows the social, emotional and physical benefits of getting outdoors, into nature and enjoying time with family and friends on our waterways and mountain trails. We invested in Kent and are expanding its focus from water sports to outdoor recreation to help more people get outside with brands that make the outdoors accessible and fun.”
“Kent Outdoors is, and always has been, a place where passionate founders can grow their brands,” said Ken Meidell, CEO, Kent Outdoors. “We believe in autonomy with accountability for our brands. We provide targeted support behind the scenes while giving each brand the independence to grow to its full potential. Our goal is to make space for visionary founders to create, build and better connect with one another and with their customers.”
The addition of BOTE and Kona Bicycles adds to its existing portfolio of 20 watersports brands.
BOTE, based in Walton Beach, FL, was initially known for its stand-up paddleboards but expanded to inflatable kayaks, floating dock systems and more in the watersports category.
“Fueled by passion, my wife Magda and I founded BOTE in our garage, with a vision to create a brand that inspires people to get on the water,” said Corey Cooper, co-founder and CEO, BOTE. “That vision resonates with people all over the world and spawned a community that drives the BOTE brand. Our partnership with Kent supercharges our commitment to building the world’s premier water lifestyle brand and experience. I couldn’t be more excited for the future of BOTE.”
Headquartered in Ferndale, WA, Kona Bicycles has spent 34 years building bikes for cycling enthusiasts.
“Our partnership with Kent Outdoors signals our renewed commitment to competing in a rapidly evolving industry,” said Jake Heilbron, co-founder, Kona Bicycles. “We are more dedicated than ever to building great bikes, partnering with our independent bike dealers and maintaining the Kona Way. In fact, Kent’s investment will enable Kona to invest more meaningfully behind these goals to better serve our independent retailers, team members and consumers worldwide. By partnering with Kent, we’ll give more people the freedom and empowerment of getting outdoors on Kona bikes.”
On the BOTE transaction, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Dechert LLP served as legal advisors to Kent. Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. served as financial advisor to BOTE. Godfrey & Kahn S.C. served as legal advisors to BOTE. On the Kona Bicycles transaction, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Dechert LLP served as legal advisors to Kent. Bell Lap Advisors served as financial advisor to Kona. Betts, Austin, Johnson served as legal advisors to Kona. Additional financing for both transactions was provided by a bank group led by the Private Credit business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Huntington Bancshares Inc.
Photo courtesy Kent Outdoors