Brunswick Corp. has agreed to acquire Freedom Boat Club, expanding its presence and scale in the fast-growing boat club segment. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 1989, Freedom Boat Club is the largest boat club operator and a leading marine franchisor in the nation. The Venice, Fla.-based company and its franchisees service more than 20,000 members, providing them with access to a fleet of nearly 2,200 boats at approximately 170 company-owned or franchised locations across 30 states, Canada and Europe.
“As the leader in the boat club segment, Freedom offers both immediate scale and an established marketplace presence and expertise,” Brunswick CEO David M. Foulkes said in a statement. “FBC’s profitable and cycle-resistant business model is an excellent fit within our marine portfolio. Importantly, FBC strengthens our ability to benefit from the growth in the broader sharing economy and exposes a wider range of consumers to the boating lifestyle. The growth of the marine industry depends on increasing the number of active boating participants and ensuring that they have a great experience on the water.
“This move is a natural extension of our business. It complements our established and growing engine, parts and accessories and boat portfolio with an emerging set of services to expand and enhance our position. We want to encourage and lead the pursuit of alternate forms of participation to expand the popularity of boating.”
Following the completion of the transaction, FBC will become part of Brunswick’s Business Acceleration group, which includes Brunswick’s Boating Service Network. Through the network, Brunswick has participated in the boat club and rental market since 2014, establishing a series of partnerships and pilot operations with both select dealers and marina operators.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2019.