Polaris Industries Inc. has completed its largest acquisition ever, closing on the $805 million deal for pontoon maker Boat Holdings LLC.
The move puts Polaris back into the water-sports business, albeit with a much-calmer product line than the jet-propelled water scooters the company stopped making 14 years ago.
The 20-year-old Boat Holdings, which was privately held, makes 200 types of pontoon, deck and cruiser boats that sell under brand names such as Bennington, Godfrey, Hurricane and Rinker. Products range from $14,000 to $150,000.
As first announced in May, Boat Holdings will now operate as a distinct business unit within Polaris. The division will add $560 million in annual sales, 1,100 employees and be led by Boat Holdings' former CEO Jake Vogel. Vogel will now report to Bob Mack, Polaris' president for global adjacent markets.
Polaris said it expects $100 million in future tax benefits from the combined company and placed the adjusted value of the deal that closed on Monday at $705 million. Adjusted for the tax impact, Polaris is paying about 9.5 times the value of Boat Holdings' 2017 earnings before taxes and other expenses.
Polaris isn't the only outdoor-vehicle maker to expand into boats this year. In June, Winnebago — based in Iowa but with executive offices in Eden Prairie — announced it was buying Chris-Craft.
The Boat Holdings acquisition puts Medina-based Polaris closer to becoming a $6 billion company. It ended 2017 with $5.4 billion in sales, $172 million in profits and nearly 11,000 employees. The deal also helps diversify Polaris' product holdings.
Polaris now makes four-wheel off-road vehicles, electric and military vehicles, as well as snowmobiles, motorcycles and accessories. It expanded mightily in November 2016 when it paid $665 million to acquire Transamerican Auto Parts, a retail chain dedicated to jeep and truck accessories and retro-fittings.