Rather Outdoors, the parent company of Lew's and Strike King, announced that it has acquired Zebco, the Tulsa, Okla.-based manufacturer of rods, reels and accessories. The deal also includes Quantum, a Zebco subsidiary.
“We are thrilled to welcome Zebco to the Rather family of brands," said CEO Ken Eubanks. "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, consumer interest has grown substantially, particularly in the segments of youth anglers and new anglers – areas where the Zebco brands (in business since 1949) have excelled.
“This bold acquisition positions Rather Outdoors to take full advantage of the sport’s growth and momentum,” Eubanks said.
A key component of the Zebco acquisition is the strong Europe portfolio, which includes Telford, England-based Preston Innovations and Zebco Europe, located in Tostedt, Germany. Preston, 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 with Quantum, which originally launched in the U.S. in 1984.
“What the Zebco acquisition means for our retail partners is of utmost importance to Rather," Eubanks said. "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.”
Said Steve Smits, president and COO of Zebco: “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.”