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Winnebago to acquire Indiana-based pontoon boat maker in $300M-plus deal


Winnebago Industries Inc. announced it will buy Barletta Pontoon Boats, an Indiana-based boat manufacturer, for more than $300 million in a deal that will further expand its marine business, Bloomberg News reported. Winnebago, based in Forest City, will pay $255 million upfront in cash and stock, and as much as $65 million if Barletta meets certain performance milestones over the next 2½ years. Based in Bristol, Ind., Barletta is owned by brothers Ronald Fenech and William Fenech, who founded it in 2017. William Fenech will remain the president of Barletta, within the newly created marine division. Winnebago already owns Chris-Craft, the Sarasota, Fla.-based luxury boat manufacturer, which it acquired in 2018. Pontoon boats are usually used in lakes and can be used for a variety of family activities, making them a fast-growing part of the boating market, Winnebago’s president and CEO, Michael Happe, told Bloomberg. “They’re safe and stable and exciting. You can do a lot of things besides cruising around the lake. You can wakeboard and water ski and inner tube.”

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