Though the Freedom Boat Club currently has nothing in its powerboat stable that could be considered high-performance, the Venice, Fla.-based outfit is poised to get a high-powered infusion of new ownership. Publicly traded Brunswick Corporation, the Illinois-headquartered parent company of Mercury Marine has entered into a “definitive agreement to acquire Freedom Boat Club,” according to Brunswick press release.
The Freedom Boat Club is the largest organization of its kind and introduces thousands of people to powerboating each year.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Freedom Boat Club, founded in 1989, is the largest boat club operator and the premier marine franchisor in the nation, according to the release. The club and its franchisees service more than 20,000 members, providing them with access to a fleet of nearly 2,200 boats at approximately 170 company-owned or franchised locations across 30 states, Canada and Europe.
“As the leader in the boat club segment, Freedom offers both immediate scale and an established marketplace presence and expertise,” said David M. Foulkes, Brunswick’s chief executive officer, in the release. “FBC’s profitable and cycle-resistant business model is an excellent fit within our marine portfolio.
“FBC strengthens our ability to benefit from the growth in the broader sharing economy and exposes a wider range of consumers to the boating lifestyle,” Foulkes continued “The growth of the marine industry depends on increasing the number of active boating participants and ensuring that they have a great experience on the water.
Once the transaction is complete, the Freedom Boat Club will become part of Brunswick’s Business Acceleration group, which includes Brunswick’s Boating Service Network (BSN). Through BSN, Brunswick has participated in the boat club and rental market since 2014, establishing a series of partnerships and pilot operations with both select dealers and marina operators.
During the last five years, the Freedom Boat Club has nearly doubled its location footprint and tripled its membership base, according to the release.
“We’re very excited to join Brunswick,” said John Giglio the president of Freedom Boat Club, in the release. “Our knowledge and experience of the growing boat club industry, combined with Brunswick’s leading marine resources, will provide FBC and its franchise partners with many new opportunities to accelerate growth and create value, while enhancing the best-in-class boating experience we aim to provide our members.”