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Bass Pro makes major marine acquisition

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Bass Pro Shops announced a marine acquisition through its White River Marine Group subsidiary that will result in myriad changes to its boat manufacturing operations.

White River acquired New Bern, North Carolina-based saltwater fishing boat maker Hatteras Inc. for undisclosed terms, according to a news release. With the purchase, the Bass Pro division is planning a revamp on the East Coast that's slated to create jobs and free up manufacturing space in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  

“We are inspired by the many similarities between the pride and passion of the master boat builders from our home in the Ozarks and the legendary boat builders of North Carolina and the New Bern area in particular," Bass Pro and White River founder Johnny Morris said in the release. “We’re committed to support Hatteras in staying true to its roots as a legendary saltwater brand built by a passion for fishing while expanding our operations to better serve all those who love the sea.”

White River intends to inject capital into Hatteras' North Carolina manufacturing plant. An undisclosed investment would modernize the factory and generate "hundreds" of jobs, according to the release.  

With the investment plans, White River will relocate its saltwater manufacturing to the Hatteras facility from plants in Flippin, Arkansas, and Miami, Oklahoma. Those plants will produce additional freshwater boats, with no jobs expected to be lost through the transition, company officials said.

Lauren Good, a 12-year veteran of the Bass Pro group of companies, was selected to oversee saltwater operations and the Hatteras plant, according to the release.  

In conjunction with the acquisition announcement, Bass Pro also indicated Morris is pledging $1 million toward conservation efforts focused on the coastal area. The five-year pledge was made in honor of the late Eddie Bridges, a North Carolina conservation veteran.  

First-year commitments include $100,000 to the Norths Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation, $50,000 to the University of Maine for a North Carolina tuna satellite tagging project and $50,000 for the International Game Fish Association, according to the release.

The acquisition of Hatteras follows White River's investment earlier this year in Bolivar, when the company doubled its manufacturing footprint in the area, according to past reporting.

Bass Pro late last year signed a definitive agreement to purchase West Jordan, Utah-based Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: SPWH) in a deal valued at roughly $785 million.

Comments

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Jeff Faught

Right on Johnny Morris and White River Marine. Sign me up for a new GT70 Sport Fisherman.

Friday, May 21
Jeff Munzinger

Quite an impressive acquisition for Tracker. Hatteras Yachts, as the company was long known, has a lengthy and storied history. It was founded in the early 1960s by Willis Slane, a North Carolina hosiery manufacturer (hence the name, "Knit Wits"). Fiberglass was a new material then, and prior to Slane had not been used in boats the scale of the Hatteras fishing yachts.

Friday, May 21
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