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Business Observer Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5 months ago

Company acquires boat club business based in area

After being acquired by Brunswick Corp., John Giglio and his management team will continue to lead Freedom Boat Club.

VENICE — Mettawa, Ill.-based Brunswick Corp. announced it will acquire Freedom Boat Club as part of a strategy to expand its presence and scale within the boat club segment.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Venice-based Freedom Boat Club was founded in 1989. It is the largest boat club operator and premier marine franchisor in the nation, according to a statement. The company and its franchisees serve over 20,000 members and provide them with access to a fleet of nearly 2,200 boats at 170 company-owned or franchised locations across 30 U.S. states, Canada and Europe.

“As the leader in the boat club segment, Freedom offers both immediate scale and an established marketplace presence and expertise,” says Brunswick CEO David Foulkes in the statement. "This move is a natural extension of our business. It complements our established and growing engine, parts and accessories and boat portfolio with an emerging set of services to expand and enhance our position.” 

After the transaction is complete, Freedom Boat Club will become part of Brunswick’s Business Acceleration group, which includes Brunswick’s Boating Service Network, the press release adds. Through the network, Brunswick has participated in the boat club and rental market since 2014, establishing a series of partnerships and pilot operations with both dealers and marina operators.  

John Giglio and his management team will continue to lead Freedom Boat Club, the release states, under Brunswick. Over the last five years, Freedom Boat Club has nearly doubled its location footprint and tripled its membership base under Giglio and his team, the release adds. 

“We’re very excited to join Brunswick,” says Giglio in the statement. “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.”

The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2019.

Brunswick Corp.'s consumer brands include Mercury Marine outboard engines; Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris, Lowe, Lund, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Thunder Jet and Uttern boats; and Boating Services Network, NAUTIC-ON, OnBoard Boating Club and Rentals. 

Giglio was recently named one of the Business Observer's Top Entrepreneurs for 2019. 

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