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Rather Outdoors CEO confirms acquisition of Zebco Brands


As revealed by Angling International last weekend, Rather Outdoors – formerly Lew’s Holdings – has taken over Zebco Brands, the US-based supplier of fishing rods, reels and accessories.

The news has been officially confirmed by Ken Eubanks (pictured), CEO of Rather. He said: “We are thrilled to welcome Zebco to the Rather family of brands. From a company perspective, this business represents robust growth potential for Rather Outdoors and enables us to continue building a complementary offering for our most important partner, our consumers in the fishing community.”

The fishing equipment space has seen a consistent upward trajectory in consumer participation. In the past year alone, consumer interest has grown substantially, particularly in the segments of youth anglers and new anglers, areas where the Zebco brands have excelled. “This bold acquisition positions Rather Outdoors to take full advantage of the sport’s growth and momentum,” Eubanks said.

Zebco is most widely known for its entry-level fishing reels, which are nearly ubiquitous among families with young anglers.

A key component of the Zebco acquisition is the strong European portfolio, which includes England-based Preston Innovations and Zebco Europe, located in Tostedt, Germany. Preston Innovations, a leading UK match fishing brand, has an established presence in the coarse, carp and bait segments of the European market. Zebco Europe distributes the namesake Zebco brand, but also has a strong share of Europe’s predator fishing market with Quantum, which originally launched in the United States in 1984 and is well-established in the lexicon of American and European angling. 

Together, the acquisition of Zebco Brands solidifies Rather’s goal of attaining a leading global position in the fishing tackle space.

Eubanks added: “What the Zebco acquisition means for our retail partners is of utmost importance to Rather. A strong partnership between Rather and our retailers is in this company’s DNA. We believe this deal will enhance consumer engagement and provide retail customers with a full complement to our heritage brands.”

Steve Smits, President and Chief Operating Officer of Zebco added: “The team here at Zebco is proud of our past and the strong traditions of our brands. We believe that the leadership of Rather Outdoors remains committed to delivering the highest quality products to the loyal consumers of Zebco Brands.”

Angling International reported on Saturday that the acquisition had gone through when it highlighted the home page of the Rather Outdoors website which featured the logos of the newly acquired brands.

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