3M Co. to sell its two fly-fishing businesses to Orvis

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 1, 2013 - 8:58 PM


The Orvis Co. of Manchester, Vt., is buying Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels from 3M Co., Orvis announced Wednesday.

Orvis will continue to operate Scientific Anglers independently at its Midland, Mich., headquarters and Ross Reels will also continue to operate independently under its brand name from Montrose, Colo.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter; terms were not disclosed.

Scientific Anglers always has been a bit of an odd fit for 3M, but it endeared itself to many of the company’s fly-fishing executives over the years. Many have been the tales from the old days when 3M execs directed one of the company’s jets toward West Yellowstone, Mont., or similar far-off destinations to “test’’ products.

But the business has a serious side. 3M had the chemists and other scientists to develop new fly lines that ultimately were easier to cast, floated higher in the water and dried more quickly. The Scientific Anglers brand is known worldwide.

Ross Reels was founded in 1973, and 3M acquired the business in September 2010 to complement its line of fly-fishing products.

“Our goal is for Scientific Anglers to be the world leader in fly lines, leaders and tippet, and for Ross to be the leading innovator in American-made fly reels,” said Jim Lepage, the newly appointed president of both businesses. “We plan to maintain strong investment in R&D at both businesses and we intend to bolster their sales and distribution resources here in the U.S. and build both brands internationally.”

David Perkins, Orvis’ executive vice chairman, said: “We think both businesses have incredible opportunities to drive fly-fishing innovation well into the future.”

Lepage, Orvis’ vice president of rod and tackle, will move to Midland and will run both companies, Perkins said. “Neither consumers nor the trade will likely notice much of a difference in the branding of these fine businesses.


Dennis Anderson • 612-673-4424

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