Rather Outdoors, previously known as Lew’s Tackle, has grown into one of the world’s largest retailers of fishing related products over the past several years. In the process, the company, which is under the management of BDT Capital, has taken control of many other legendary brands.

Some of the most notable of these brands include Strike King, Fox, Matrix, and Salmo. Now, it appears that Rather Outdoor will add another industry giant to its already sizable portfolio. It was recently announced that Rather Outdoors has reached an agreement to purchase Zebco Brands.

Zebco Brands, in itself, is a company of epic proportions. Zebco is owned by W.C. Bradley Company and is the current holder of such brands as Quantum, Badlands, and Cajun Line. Zebco Brands also owns Zebco Sports Europe, which was reacquired by the company in 2011.

The acquisition of Zebco Brands by Rather Outdoors is currently pending approval by the Federal Competition Authority of Vienna. If ratified, the impending deal would serve as one of the most significant mergers in industry history.

Rather Outdoors would find itself atop a list of the world’s most sizable product retailers in the fishing industry, both in terms of footprint, and likely in sales volume as well. The acquisition of Zebco would bolster Rather’s impact on the industry, allowing it to expand from tackle sales into the rod and reel market sector.

Regardless, consumers should still be able to purchase products from their favorite Zebco house-brands, well into the future. However, what remains uncertain, is the impact that will be felt in regards to individual product availability. In many cases, such a merger spells the end for less profitable product lines and the impending consolidation of similar products.

Will Zebco’s product lineup look the same this time next year, as it has during the prior decade? Unfortunately, no information of this type has been made public. At this point, any opinions on such matters would be purely speculative in nature.


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