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Orvis Buys Scientific Anglers, Ross Reels (or, Proof Jim LePage Is Marilyn Monroe's Love Child)

Posted by Tom Chandler 5/1/2013

Consolidation isn't exactly unknown in the business world these days, but I admit this announcement caught me a little by surprise:

Manchester, VT (May 1, 2013) – The Orvis Company, Inc. of Manchester, Vermont today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels businesses from 3M (NYSE:MMM). Upon completion of the transaction, Orvis plans to continue to operate the Midland, MI based business independently under the Scientific Anglers brand. Ross Reels will also continue to operate independently under its brand name from its Montrose, CO headquarters. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Ok. My first journalistic response was that Orvis worked with SciAnglers on fly lines (SA produces the Orvis "base" lines, which are then hot-rodded in the Orvis rod shop), so... why not?

But this passage caught me a little unawares:

“There is no plan for Orvis to carry Scientific Anglers-brand fly lines in its catalog, stores or website, nor are there plans to more widely distribute Orvis products through S.A.’s established wholesale accounts. Each brand must remain focused on being the leading innovator in their respective product categories and distribution channels,” Lepage said. “Maintaining that clarity will be the key to our success.”

Orvis is something of a direct marketing machine; I assumed we'd see all three organizational marketing bits intertwining with Orvis applying some of its direct muscle. But on a phone call, Tom Rosenbauer said SA and Ross "are wholesale business and we want to keep them wholesale businesses."

OK. It's all adding up to be a standard, everyday buyout.

Until I applied the sophisticated journalistic techniques developed by American's stellar crop of birthers and conspiracy theorists. To whit:

“We think both businesses have incredible opportunities to drive fly-fishing innovation well into the future,” said David Perkins, Orvis Executive Vice Chairman. “Jim Lepage will move to Midland and from there he will be dedicated to running both S.A. and Ross. He and the excellent teams already in place will build these strong brands for the future. Neither consumers nor the trade will likely notice much of a difference in the branding of these businesses under Orvis ownership. What they will notice is renewed marketing energy, well-supported sales and service staff and an even higher level of new product innovation."

Aha! And I had my story.

All the facts clearly point to the following: Jim LePage is the love child of Marilyn Monroe and one of the Perkins clan, and this purchase is basically a gift to him in return for his silence on the whole embarrassing episode.

When I confronted Rosenbauer with the truth, he backpedaled desperately: "We'll see an increased emphasis on quality control and R&&D."

You can almost read the fear in his voice.

"And we're bringing Bruce Richardson back to SA. It's really cool to have Bruce Richardson back on board, and with Jim LePage working as a hands-on manager, we should see some cool new innovations coming from SA and Ross."

That, my fellow Undergrounders, is confirmation.

Need more proof? I can already predict that not a single one of the other Illuminati-controlled fly fishing blogs or media is going to publish the real truth.

Thus, the absence of the truth confirms the truth -- which you'll receive only at the Underground.

See you scanning for black helicopters, Tom Chandler.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

24 comments
Ross was an expense of getting the SA deal done. 3M pitched it as a package and Orvis was the only one willing to bite down on Ross and their P&L because they needed SA more than any other buyer. If the numbers had penciled out Orvis wouldn't be shedding the brand year a mere 7 months after purchase, same reason no other suitors would touch the deal if Ross was associated with getting it done.
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Nope. Sage bought Redington from Orvis. Orvis bought Redington to expand its lower-price-point offerings, then did an about-face a couple of years later and dumped it.
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Revolving door management, Leadership with no knowledge of fly line, 3m corporate philosophy and policy, slow reaction between St Paul and midland to upgrade and improve, no boots on the ground talking to fisherman, Poor marketing, Poor research into investments, one being Stream Works. ect. ect. SA was a blip on the radar for 3m, more like a training facility for management and supervision. When ... more all your leadership is only engineers disregarding expertise, skill, and passion there is a problem. Orvis in combination with Mr. Bruce Richards will bring fresh air, innovation, and huge improvements to SA.
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Redington? Think the Rio/Sage folks (Far Bank/) own them. Were you thinking of someone else?
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trout chaser: The Colorado freewheeling while wet? First I’ve ever heard of that. I’m trying to figure out how getting wet would affect a gear/pawl reel one way or the other. I couldn't figure it out either, but it was real. I bought two Colorados, and when either got dunked in the river they'd freewheel. Ross designed a new click/pawl enclosure and sent me a pair, but that didn't resolve the ... more problem. It seemed odd that the company building some of the nicest reels on the planet couldn't make click-pawl design work, but Brad Befus certainly resolved the problem when he took the reels back.
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They may keep the brand identities and distribution channels separate on the marketing side, and it would make sense to do so, but the acquisition also brings valuable vertical integration and US manufacturing capacity to Orvis on the production side, and brings to SA and Ross ownership for whom fishing is a core business rather than an amusing distraction. It's a better strategic fit all around for ... more Orvis, 3M, SA and Ross. However, Orvis appears from the outside to have a history of acquiring smaller companies and then not executing very well to achieve potential synergies (Redington, Gokey, BFR). We'll see if they do better this time. (In any event, I think we have a better idea what Orvis Santa might have been talking about on that other thread recently.)
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Tom Chandler: Yeah, but the Colorado never actually, at least not once you got it wet. Ross even went to the step of buying my Colorado reels back from me after their “fix” didn’t really resolve the “freewheeling when wet” problem. Gotta say they stood behind their product, but I wouldn’t buy another. Innovation is like a lottery ticket; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The Colorado freewheeling ... more while wet? First I've ever heard of that. I'm trying to figure out how getting wet would affect a gear/pawl reel one way or the other. Nevertheless, I'm sorry you had such an unsatisfactory experience with them. I've been using mine almost daily since the late nineties, including duty as "guide" reels. I finally replaced the gear, pawl and spring on a couple of the more heavily used reels a few years back. Couldn't live without 'em, and I want more. But I guess I made that clear in my patented, whining manner.
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Sorry, this was more than 10 years ago; they sent parts to fix the Colorado's "freewheel when wet" problems, but they didn't resolve the issue. Finally, I called and they just bought the reels back. Too bad -- I really liked the Colorado.
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I'd like to get Ross to pay me for the reel I have that is useless once wet. How is this done, thanks, risingtrout
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And now we're on the hit list for an Illuminati-sponsored DDoS attack...
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Mat Trevors: To clarify: I am not controlled by the Illuminati. But isn't that just what they trained you to say? Their intrusion into the saltwater realm is well documented at theilluminatiandsaltwater-matchmadeinheavenorhell.com.
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Ralph C: This slight of hand might be honest (maybe there is a Bruce Richardson that used to work for SA) but the feint is obvious. Bruce Richards was the brains behind 3M/SA and it is no secret that when he left, the company fell flat on its face into a tangle of sharkskin and never returned to the fight. Excellent catch. It's not bad transcription on my part -- it's simply more proof of the ... more conspiracy. Clearly, I have much to learn.
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trout chaser: To hell with innovations, when is Ross gonna re-issue the Colorado? For that matter, they could bring back the Gunnison in a (la-de-da) large arbor format, and pretty well dominate the market (again.) but nooooo, they gots to INNOVATE. Pfffttt. Yeah, but the Colorado never actually, at least not once you got it wet. Ross even went to the step of buying my Colorado reels back from ... more me after their "fix" didn't really resolve the "freewheeling when wet" problem. Gotta say they stood behind their product, but I wouldn't buy another. Innovation is like a lottery ticket; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
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Mark McGlothlin: Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Stellar. I'm pretty sure you're one of "them." Commie.
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Maybe someone at Orvis can tell someone at SA that floating lines are supposed to float. To clarify: I am not controlled by the Illuminati. A quick view of all three blogs I look at will quickly prove no enlightened individuals whatsoever press "publish" on them...
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You can see the deceit when they claim Bruce Richardson will "be coming back". This slight of hand might be honest (maybe there is a Bruce Richardson that used to work for SA) but the feint is obvious. Bruce Richards was the brains behind 3M/SA and it is no secret that when he left, the company fell flat on its face into a tangle of sharkskin and never returned to the fight. Bruce Richards is to SA ... more what Bruce Wayne was to Batman. I know Bruce Richards and and he is no Bruce Richardson.
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Orvis hasn't made anything I'd fish with in a long time but they do seem a fairly well behaved and organized company...... Good work Tom..... this has to be tied into the same conspiracy that is hiding the increasing gravitation (trails steeper etc) and the apparent weakening of the sun (flies harder to see on the water than they used to be) ..... I'm a little bumfuzzled by the word innovation.... ... more Bamboo has been the premier fly rod material for nearly 125 years now .... and the Perfect fly reel has been in production for well over a century......not sure what there is to innovate... Sage Orvis and many others are already cranking out superb tomato stakes.... and those large arbor nasa inspired doorstops the Hoi Polloi seem to think are fly reels are about as ugly and useless as they can be ...what's to innovate???????? Perhaps SA will bring back a nice usable proper double taper.... some real silk and red deer tallow dressing????? Now THAT would be both innovative and useful in this age of useless annoying technocrap gear that has nothing to do with fishing!!!! Hey I didn't get a Harumph outta that guy!!!!
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Good work Clark!
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[...] The Trout Underground has some theories of his own. [...]
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To hell with innovations, when is Ross gonna re-issue the Colorado? For that matter, they could bring back the Gunnison in a (la-de-da) large arbor format, and pretty well dominate the market (again.) but nooooo, they gots to INNOVATE. Pfffttt.
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When you get on Dr. Drew and roll tape with psych experts, then you'll be onto something. I can see Rosenbauers podcasts getting analyzed online. Oh, man......
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Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Stellar.
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Amusingly, I brought up Phillipson in the conversation with Rosenbauer (in reference to tape executives running fishing companies). It's possible he thought my holding a grudge from the 60s was a little weird.
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But Tom (ominous music underscore)...what about PHILLIPSON??? (put on til foil hat) If 3M sells SA then someone will find the secret stash,giving Orvis world domination of 'glass and bamboo rods.....
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