Rather Outdoors CEO: adding Zebco will boost our sales amongst ‘new generation’ of anglers
What were the key drivers behind one of the biggest deals in angling history? The answer, says Rather Outdoors CEO Ken Eubanks, lies in the growing number of young anglers and their loyalty to Zebco Brands.
The acquisition adds a new raft of consumers and establishes a foothold in the burgeoning youth market in the US for Rather Outdoors. Eubanks (below) has told Angling International that the addition of brands within the Zebco portfolio is an important step in addressing the growing cadre of younger and newer consumers.
“Anglers who have been devoted to our heritage brands of Lew’s, Strike King and Fox International tend to be the specialists of the sport. Zebco, on the other hand, has proven to be one of the industry leaders in embracing a new audience, a segment of the market that is vital to the future of our sport and our industry.
“We are truly excited to be expanding our product offering for this broader market. From my executive team on down, we are anglers. And we know in our core just how important it is to address the needs of this new audience of consumers. Zebco was an important part of that early angling journey for me and most individuals on the Rather team.”
The deal with Zebco Brands is the third such acquisition for Rather Outdoors – previously known as Lew’s Holdings Corporation – in the last five years. In 2017 it added US-based lure brand Strike King to its portfolio, followed by the 2019 purchase of Fox International, Europe’s largest privately-owned tackle company. When pressed on the prospect of future acquisitions, Eubanks said: “I will tell you, with a great degree of certainty, that this sport will see exponential growth in the years to come, in large part because of this new generation of avid anglers. As a company, our strategy is to continually evaluate new growth opportunities and new ways of addressing the market, while maintaining a deep commitment to our current customers.”
Rather Outdoors has just emerged from what Eubanks describes as an ‘unbelievable’ year as it experienced a global surge in participation. “For society, it was a truly difficult year, and we have all been touched in some way by the pandemic. That said, growth in the fishing industry has been immense. As a company, we have adapted to that growth and will continue to do so.”
Moving forward, Eubanks is optimistic that businesses within the trade will continue to prosper. “We believe the growing enthusiasm for fishing is in the early stages, and that new and re-engaged anglers will stay with it,” he said.