The ink is barely dry on Pure Fishing's purchase of Sebile lures, but the whispers have started already: "There's too much consolidation in this industry," "They'll destroy the brand," "The little guys don't stand a chance anymore," "We need to go back to the old days in the fishing industry, when companies toughed it out, fought back instead of selling out."
That sound you hear is a big, fat cackle, and it's coming from me. The folks who say this are either (a) delusional or (b) don't know their history.
This industry, like virtually all others, has always relied on consolidation to thrive. Don't believe me? Pick just about any sizeable company in the industry. Now go to their website and click on the "About Us" tab at the top of the page.
It's very, very likely you'll read about acquisitions they've made over the years or, in many cases, in recent history. Much as you or I might like things to stay the same at our favorite company, that's just not a reality. And that's a good thing. Take the case of the Sebile sale, for example.
I know firsthand that the company — one of the most consistently innovative in the industry — makes great products that catch fish. In the last few years, Sebile has consistently enjoyed the fruits of their labor, winning numerous awards, gaining widespread popularity and even playing a large role in several Bassmaster Elite Series tournament wins. So it's easy to say,
"Who would want to sell under such conditions?" I have zero inside knowledge regarding this sale, but the sale makes sense on many levels.
First, it gives Sebile a level of access it could never have enjoyed by going it alone, through Pure's global distribution and marketing efforts. Sebile might have the innovation, but Pure has the deep pockets to grow the brand beyond the former owner's wildest dreams. And for Pure the deal makes sense because it allows them to "innovate carefully." Instead of taking the risk of spending millions to create a rival brand to compete with Sebile, they get a brand that is already a proven winner. Some people might not like it, but they cannot say it doesn't make sense.
Truthfully, the folks who raise a stink over this sale and others like it are the same people who lament their own company not being aggressive in making deals such as this. To that group and others who howl at the moon over consolidation in our industry, I have three words for you: Get over it!