White River Marine Group acquires Hatteras and announces major investment
The White River Marine Group – the fishing boat builder owned by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris – has acquired Hatteras Yachts and announced a major investment in the brand.
It is set to modernise the company’s headquarters in New Benn, North Carolina (artist’s impression below) and establish a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant that will generate hundreds of new jobs. The investment is worth $35m.
“This is not just a business investment for us. It is at the heart of who we are,” said Morris. “Fishing, boating and conservation have been lifelong shared passions in our company and we are grateful to our team members and independent dealer network for their boundless enthusiasm and support.”
While White River, which is the largest manufacturer of fishing and recreational boats in the US, will continue to produce a limited number of Hatteras yachts, the primary focus will be devoted to building the next generation of sportfishing boats. The move means saltwater boat production will leave Miami, Oklahoma and Flippin, Arkansas, and free up capacity to build more freshwater boats in the Midwest.
“We are so excited, actually, for Flippin and for Miami and Oklahoma, just because we are going to be able to probably hire more people and build more boats. There is lots of energy around those plants right now for sure,” said Cara Davison, White River Marine Group Vice President of Sales and Customer Service, adding that demand from boat buyers is greater than ever. “People just started flocking to the water.”
Bass Pro has also announced a $1 million conservation investment towards improving North Carolina’s coastal habitats and furthering research to understand the migratory patterns of bluefin tuna and marlin. The investment is to honour the legacy of North Carolina conservation hero, Eddie Brides.