S C Johnson family/Johnson Outdoors Inc

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Johnson Outdoors is a manufacturer and marketer of branded seasonal, outdoor recreation products. Johnson Outdoors Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets camping, diving, watercraft, and marine electronics products worldwide. The company operates through 4 segments:

  • Fishing: electric motors for trolling or primary propulsion, marine battery chargers, and shallow water anchors; sonar and GPS equipment for fish finding, navigation, and marine cartography; and downriggers for controlled-depth fishing. Website
  • Diving: underwater diving and snorkelling equipment, including regulators, buoyancy compensators, dive computers and gauges, wetsuits, masks, fins, snorkels, and accessories. Also provides regular maintenance, product repair, diving education, and travel program services; and sells diving gear to dive training centres, resorts, public safety units, and armed forces.
  • Camping: tents and accessories; sleeping bags; camping furniture and stoves; other recreational camping products; and portable outdoor cooking systems. It also acts as a subcontract manufacturer to other sellers of military tents.
  • Watercraft: canoes, kayaks, paddles.

Johnson Outdoors is the only publicly traded company in the Johnson empire, although the family attempted to take it private again in Feb.2004.ref




Total float: 79.1%
Source: MarketScreener.svg, Mar.2020


Johnson Outdoors

Oct.2015 Seabear Diving Technology (Seabear GmbH), an Austrian specialist in the development of underwater diving instrumentation, was acquired.ref,(AR-2015) Website.arch
Jun.2013 DrDepth, the Sweden-based maker of lake and sea bottom mapping software, was acquired by Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics Inc. DrDepth was integrated into the Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics business.
Nov.2012 Jetboil Inc, a producer of lightweight, efficient, gas fueled portable stoves, was acquired from its founders.ref,ref Website.arch
Jul.2011 LakeMaster, a brand of high definition electronic charts and fishing and boating maps, made by Marine Electronics Inc, was acquired.ref
Oct.2006 Lendal paddles was acquired from its founders and owners, Alistair and Marianne Wilson. Lendal operations, located in Scotland, was integrated into the Johnson Outdoors paddle sport operations.ref
Cannon downriggers and Bottomline fishfinders were acquired from Computrol Inc of Boise, Idaho, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Armstrong International. The brands were integrated into the company's existing Marine Electronics Group business unit. Cannon is the No.1 brand of downriggers used on motorized boats for controlled depth fishing. Bottomline is a value brand of fishfinders which includes the popular portable, battery-operated “Fishin' Buddy” fishfinder series.ref,ref,ref Website.arch
Techsonic Industries Inc, a global leader in underwater sonar and video viewing, and GPS technologies, was acquired from Teleflex Incorporated. The deal brought the Humminbird brand into Johnson Outdoors' marine electronics group portfolio, which included trolling motors and accessories sold under the Minn Kota name.ref,ref,ref
Feb.2004 Private: Samuel C Johnson and Helen Johnson-Leipold proposed the acquisition of all outstanding shares of the company. The intention was to return full ownership in Johnson Outdoors to the Johnson family.ref
Aug.2002 Jack Wolfskin, a marketer of outdoor clothing, footwear and equipment based in Idstein, German, was sold to private equity firm Bain Capital.ref The sale was completed in Sept.2002.
Aug.2001 Necky Kayaks was hived up into Ocean Kayak. In late 1998, Johnson had bought the rights to the Necky brand, and entered into a manufacturing agreement for the production of kayaks at its Abbottsford, British Columbia facility.ref
Jun.2001 Escape Sailboat Company, based in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was hived up into the new Southeast Watercraft facility. Sales, marketing and customer service was transferred to Johnson Outdoors' Leisure Life Ltd unit in Grand Rapids, Michigan.ref
Apr.2001 Fibrekraft Manufacturers Ltd, a manufacturer of paddles and watercraft accessories based in Napier, New Zealand, was acquired. Fibrekraft was hived up into Johnson's New Zealand subsidiary. Fibrekraft, primarily under its brand Canoe Sports, designed and produced high-quality paddles, helmets and other paddle sport accessories.
Apr.2000 Pacific Kayak Ltd, a manufacturer of sit-on-top and sea touring kayaks located in Auckland, New Zealand, was acquired.ref
Johnson Outdoors Inc: Johnson Worldwide Associates Inc changed its name.ref Website.arch

Johnson Worldwide Associates

Jan.2000 Pure Fishing Inc: the Fishing Tackle division, operating under the trade name "Pure Fishing", was sold to privately-held holding company Berkley Inc. The division designed and marketed brand name products, including Mitchell Sports and Johnson reels, rods and combinations, Spiderline high performance and monofilament fishing line and Johnson Lures.ref,ref OpenCorporates-sm.svg
Aug.1999 Extrasport Inc, manufacturer of Extrasport and Swiftwater personal flotation devices, in Miami, Florida, was acquired.ref
Apr.1999 Escape Sailboat Company LLC, a manufacturer and marketer of rotational moulded recreational sailboats, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was acquired.ref
Jan.1999 True North Paddle & Necky Kayaks Ltd, manufacturer of whitewater and sea touring kayaks, located in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, was acquired.ref
Feb.1998 Leisure Life Ltd, a manufacturer and marketer of small recreational boats, including pedal boats, fishing boats, dinghies and canoes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was acquired.ref
Jul.1997 Plastiques LPA Limitée, a privately-owned Canadian firm and one of the premier makers of high-quality kayaks, was acquired.
??.1997 Uwatec AG, a Switzerland-based manufacturer of diving computers and other electronic equipment, was acquired, and merged into Scubapro.ref
1996 Ocean Kayak Inc was acquired from its founders, the Niemier family.ref
mid‑1990s Divestments: the company had over-extended itself, with consequent financial repercussions. Many of the companies purchased during this time were sold. JWA was comprehensively restructured into an efficiently-run operating company.
1991 Jack Wolfskin, a German firm that manufactured backpacks, camping tents, and outdoor clothing, was acquired.
?date? Mitchell Sports SA: JWA made one of its first overseas acquisitions, a fishing reel manufacturer in Cluses, France. Mitchell Sports was one of the most revered manufacturers in the sporting goods industry, especially the Mitchell 300 fishing reel. Website.arch
end‑1980s Europe: the company was doing very well, with excellent sales of Johnson fishing reels, Minn Kota electric fishing motors, Old Town canoes, Eureka! Tents, and Camp Trail backpacking gear. The Minn Kota electric fishing motors had captured a 70% share of the entire market within the industry. Management therefore decided to invest heavily in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of diving gear and marine equipment throughout Europe.
1987 Johnson Worldwide Associates went public in order to have access to the capital market, and to establish a market value for the company's stock.
Johnson Worldwide Associates: management and the Johnson family decided that it was time for the division to become independent. The new firm was spun off from parent company Johnson Wax by means of a leveraged buyout to Samuel C Johnson and the Johnson family. The buyout amounted to ~$66m, with the Johnson family maintaining a 42% investment interest, and a 72% majority voting interest. OpenCorporates-sm.svg Website.arch

Johnson Wax Associates

1980 Johnson Camping Inc: Johnson Wax Associates consolidated Eureka Tent Inc, Camp Trails Company of Phoenix, Arizona, a backpack and sleeping bag manufacturer, and Silva of LaPorte, Indiana, a compass and cross-country ski manufacturer.
1974 Old Town Canoe Company was acquired from the Gray family, and became a division of Johnson Diversified Inc.ref Old Town CanoeWikipedia-W.svg, Website.arch
1974 ScubaPro was acquired. The company had its roots in Healthways, a manufacturer of diving gear which went bankrupt in Dec.1962.ref,ref,ref,ref
1973 Eureka Tent & Awning Company was bought by Johnson Diversified Inc. Eureka! Tent CompanyWikipedia-W.svg
1973 Silva Compass: JWA acquired Silva Inc, Silva Sweden AB's USA arm. In 1985, JWA also acquired Silva Ltd of Canada. In 1997, JWA and Silva Sweden had a legal spat over the brand name rights, which resulted in Silva agreeing not to market compasses under the Silva brand in the USA and Canada. In 2018, Silva Sweden AB reacquired the North American rights from Johnson Outdoors. Silva compassWikipedia-W.svg, Website.arch, Website
Johnson Reels and Minn Kota trolling motors were acquired by Johnson Diversified Inc, a subsidiary of Johnson Wax Associates. Denison-Johnson Inc, maker of Johnson Reels, had purchased Minn Kota Manufacturing Company in 1969.ref Minn Kota.arch
1960s‑1970s Johnson Wax Associates initiated a diversification strategy by acquiring small to medium-sized firms that were manufacturing recreational products with recognisable brand names, and formed them into a recreational products division.
Additional Sources: Company Histories , Annual Report 2011, Annual Report 2014, Annual Report 2015