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If you have been keeping track of the latest fishing industry news, you will likely recall that Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm that owns Pure Fishing, purchased a stake in Rapala VMC Corporation roughly a month ago. Now, it appears that the same entity has made yet another move of equally epic proportions.

It was recently announced that Sycamore Partners had agreed to purchase Plano Synergy Holdings Inc., which most anglers recognize more aptly by the trade name Plano. Most are keenly aware of Plano’s standing as one of the premier manufacturers of molded plastic storage solutions for all outdoor-related needs.

“We are excited to welcome the iconic Plano and other brands into our industry-leading portfolio of Outdoor brands. These are storied brands within the fishing and hunting space that are beloved by outdoor enthusiasts worldwide and will perfectly complement our existing business,” stated Pure Fishing CEO Harlan Kent.

This acquisition seems to be somewhat interesting when one considers Plano Synergy’s current list of holdings. In 2013, Plano was purchased by Synergy Outdoors, who already served as one of the nation’s largest holding companies of hunting/outdoor gear.

As a result of this latest acquisition, it appears that Pure Fishing will now also own and manage some of the hunting industry’s most recognizable brands, such as Barnett, Wildgame Innovations, Ameristep Treestands, and Flextone Calls, at least for the time being. However, this begs the question, “why?”

Does Sycamore Partners intend to become the single largest stakeholder of outdoor (hunting/fishing) retail commodities? Or, was this purchase made with the sole intention of acquiring Plano, before spinning off the rest of Plano Synergy’s house brands?

At the current moment, the equity firm’s exact intentions seem unclear. However, if the history of corporate mergers is any indication, some of the brands currently held by the firm could be in trouble. As Sycamore Partners continues to expand its holdings, especially into additional market sectors, such as that pertaining to hunting equipment, they will likely look to cut the fat at some point.

Does this mean that anglers will see some of their favorite brands swept by the wayside, or their product offerings significantly cut? Though it is difficult to say for sure, the possibility certainly exists.


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