Marmot Mountain Ltd. has acquired Marker Ltd., the United States-based skiwear company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. With the purchase, Marmot now becomes the worldwide licensee of apparel, or anything made of fabric, of Marker International, GmbH, a European-based binding manufacturer.
Steve Crisafulli, CEO of Marmot, said there would be no changes in the business strategy, design philosophy, or personnel at Marker and that the company will remain in Salt Lake City. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
SNEWS® asked John Cooley, public relations director for Marmot, what the company saw in Marker that was dramatically different from what Marmot was already doing.
"The similarity is that we both sell things with a front zip and two sleeves. Otherwise, the companies sell into different universes. Given the current state of the outdoor business, it is not a likely expansion target," Cooley told SNEWS®. "The strategy then becomes: Stay within your area of expertise (sewing trades versus hardware), apply your infrastructure (credit, seasonality, culture, design values, trade shows, etc.) to the most similar thing you can find (ski industry versus golf), insure your brand is not diluted at the same time, and find the place with the greatest growth potential."
Daryl Santos, president of Marker, said, "The companies share a common commitment to the specialty stores and the business of sports. We hope to be able to utilize the infrastructure that Marmot has established in Canada and Europe to expand into international markets."
SNEWS® View: Many consider Marker to be a strong internationally recognized brand, but one that is currently underutilized in terms of brand leverage. With the acquisition, Marmot offices in Vancouver, Stockholm, Manchester, and Dusseldorf will now be able to offer Marker products and that will serve to strengthen both companies internationally. In a difficult market brought on by a combination of drought, fires, world conflict, flat retail sales, contracting distribution, and increased competition, companies can either stand pat or become proactive through acquisition and consolidation, as Marmot has done. SNEWS® expects to see more of the consolidation theme playing out as a means to drive ROI for a company. Clearly Marmot views the current state of the outdoor industry and ski industry as an opportunity. With the purchase, Marmot instantly acquired an existing, seasoned, and very capable infrastructure that offers increased global exposure and a high-potential for growth. Marker is also a very similar company that does not threaten Marmot's brand equity, and a company that can stand on its own, and that's all good. Buying such a company is a path with greater potential for faster return than simply trying to grow market share without acquisition -- and that's classic Crisafulli acumen.