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Winnebago purchases Newmar

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Interesting news! I had long wondered how long Newmar could continue as a family held business. After the founding family members pass away it becomes inevitable at some point when the number of owners grows too large and some members are not interested in the business or simply want the money it represents. It is kind of sad, but nearly always happens at some point unless the business gets passed from the founder to an involved heir and the other family members do not share ownership. That seems to happen eventually to nearly all family businesses, even the successful farm/ranch. A close friend of mine resently passed and left all of his farm and farm assets to only one member of his family as that son had been operating the farm for some years. He had told me of his plan to do that and leave only other assets to the other children. Pam used to work for a state cardealer association and that is yet another family business that is dissappearing into big corporations. 

Here is that same story but from Market Insider.

Edited by Kirk W

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WOW . . . I certainly didn't see this one coming. Winnebago seems to respect it's acquisitions well, giving them independence while enhancing their available cash flow. I can hardly wait to see.   

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I was surprised when I learned that they owned Grand Design RV.  I did not realize they were acquiring other companies, and hopefully, their acquisitions won't end up trying to be so price competitive that they forget about quality as the others mentioned above have.  It also seems like some of the other big ones just buy and then put the manufacturer out-of-business ending competition from that one.

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4 hours ago, SnowGypsy said:

I was surprised when I learned that they owned Grand Design RV. 

Grand Design was founded in 2012 and sold out to Winnebago in October of 2016.

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On a different forum (manufacturer forum) under this topic there were over 375 comments about this topic as of this morning.  Of course almost all of them are negative comments.

We will be visiting the Newmar factory again early next month.  The whole town of Nappanee, for those that have never been there, is made up of many Amish.   Some of the stores in town have hitching posts in their lots for tying up horses and/or buggies.  Most of the Newmar factory buildings have about as many bicycles parked in employee spaces as automobiles, probably more.  During our last visit (2018) I visited with our assigned tech several times over a three day period.  A nice young Amish craftsman who took great pride in his job.  

I honestly don't think anything much will change for Newmar.  I am hopeful that maybe there will be some benefit for their employees.  I would like to think that due to the size of the new parent company that possibly Newmar's employees health care could improve for example.  I don't know anything about that particular employee benefit, I'm just throwing that out there as a possible way this could be a good thing for Newmar.  A better compensated, happier employee should mean better quality overall.

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Newmar employees are some of the highest paid in the industry.  They don't mass-produce as fast as they can. It can take 10-14 days to finish one unit because most are customized. No two are alike.  There's a rain tunnel at the very end to test for leaks. There's a bonus if, when thoroughly inspected, it doesn't have to go back to the same person who initially worked on that section.  

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3 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

They don't mass-produce as fast as they can. It can take 10-14 days to finish one unit because most are customized. No two are alike. 

And, no doubt, this will be one of the first things that will be changed.  I recall that Thor did something to restrict "special orders" at Entegra after its acquisition.  Quite honestly the fact that "no two are alike" is anathema to a production facility.  It makes QA/QC far more complicated.  

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4 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

On a different forum (manufacturer forum) under this topic there were over 375 comments about this topic as of this morning.  Of course almost all of them are negative comments.

I suspect that you are referring to the Newmar Owners forum on IRV2. IMHO a significant percentage of the membership of that forum consists of folks who convinced themselves that some measure of their self-image was demonstrated by their purchase of the "best motorhomes" in the US.  Now that their beloved Newmar will be "just another Winnebago" some of them are acting as if this is a blow to their egos.  Similar posts were made when Thor purchased Entegra, but I don't think things changed all that much.

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Of course it'll take some time to cross all the 'i's and dot all 'T's, but Newmar went to Winnebago for this deal, so there's no much likelihood the deal will fall apart before closing. 

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3 minutes ago, docj said:

And if you actually believe that this is a binding commitment, then IMO you haven't had much personal experience in corporate mergers and acquisitions.  

I suspect a lot will depend on how long Matt Miller stays on as president of Newmar, and how much autonomy he's given...

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13 minutes ago, Dutch_12078 said:

I suspect a lot will depend on how long Matt Miller stays on as president of Newmar, and how much autonomy he's given...

In my experience, key personnel such as Miller will have contractual commitments that typically run 12-24 months. My presumption is that Miller sought the acquisition to create a personal exit plan.  I would be surprised to see him stay any longer than his commitment.

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9 hours ago, docj said:

And if you actually believe that this is a binding commitment, then IMO you haven't had much personal experience in corporate mergers and acquisitions.  

I am not a corporate expert, but have been invested in the market since 1970 and have observed several of them as well as being an employee through 2 of them with my employer. You can easily look to Grand Design for an example of what Newmar's future will be and even to Chris-Craft Boats which is also part of Winnebago. In addition, Newmar has been through that sort of thing before and was aquired by Matt Miller's dad in  1984.

Quote

Miller said his family was “excited to see this happen” and that it was always their intention to sell the company, which was founded in 1968 by Marvin Miller and Marvin Newcomer. Matt Miller’s father Mahlon Miller — they are no relation to Marvin — acquired 51% of Newmar Corp. in 1984, and the former Holiday Rambler president, now in retirement, would purchase the remaining 49% of the company in 1990.

Coach Builder Newmar a ‘Natural Fit’ For Winnebago

By: Rick Kessler|Published on: Sep 17, 2019|

It has long been common for Winnebago to be listed by most experienced class A people to be listed among the top reputed coach builders, with the most common listing being Newmar, Tiffin, and Winnebago. Winnebago is not Thor Ind. Changes happen in any active industry and founders always leave the company at some point. It is inevitable as none of us can live forever. 

Edited by Kirk W

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18 hours ago, docj said:

I suspect that you are referring to the Newmar Owners forum on IRV2. IMHO a significant percentage of the membership of that forum consists of folks who convinced themselves that some measure of their self-image was demonstrated by their purchase of the "best motorhomes" in the US.  Now that their beloved Newmar will be "just another Winnebago" some of them are acting as if this is a blow to their egos.  Similar posts were made when Thor purchased Entegra, but I don't think things changed all that much.

You "hit the nail on the head" docj.  A number of them are crying foul and promising that when they get their next coach it will be a Tiffin.  Not sure what they will do when Bob Tiffin is gone because I'm betting his family will probably sell out also.

When we started we had fivers.  After doing some research a Keystone Montana fit our needs for price, quality, and floorplan.  I didn't really care if it was a family owned business or a public traded corporation.  Then when we were in the market for a DP and after some research narrowed it down to Newmar, Tiffin, and Entegra.  Again, being a smaller family owned corporation didn't really factor into my decision.  

 

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