Update: Cybex talks details with SNEWS as privatization moves forward

Cybex recently announced final board approval for its plan to go private, and SNEWS caught up with Vice President of Marketing Lisa Juris to learn what that means for the company's future.
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When a big company goes private, there are pros and cons, said Cybex’s Vice President of Marketing Lisa Juris.

Juris would know. The board of directors at Cybex — the Medway, Mass.-based fitness equipment manufacturer — authorized top shareholder UM Holdings to take the public company private at $2.55 per share (about $22 million for the remaining 50.5 percent of public shares), SNEWS reported in October.

The approval of the privatization was made official in February. The new ownership includes current Chairman and CEO John Aglialoro and Director Joan Carter, who own UM Holdings.

“John [Aglialoro] bought back the company,” Juris explained. “He has passion and believes in what he’s doing.”

One advantage of the switch, Juris said, is increased freedom to experiment with new technologies. Freed of the obligation to answer to shareholders in quarterly financial reports, the company will be able to concentrate on other things, Juris said.

“When you’re a public company … you always have to focus on other things first,” Juris said, adding that the company intends to devote resources to innovations it’s put off in the past. “We have more freedom to try different things.”

One downside, however, is more personal financial risk. If the company invests in an innovation that doesn’t work out, its own money is at stake. But Juris argued this would only make the company smarter.

A few things the company will be working on are:

• Programming developed through the Cybex Research Institute
• The new 525 Cardio series for the vertical (light commercial) market
• Increased efforts to manufacture products domestically

Manufacturing products domestically is one of Cybex's strong points, Juris said, noting that the company “could be more profitable but we believe in keeping jobs in the U.S." In addition, manufacturing more products domestically will make it easier for Cybex clients to customize equipment for their facilities.

Club Industry recently reported that Cybex President Art Hicks said lawsuits over the terms of the privatization should die down now that the company is private. That includes the lawsuit filed by a shareholder, Guziec v. Cybex International Inc. et al, which was filed in late 2012 with the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

--Ana Trujillo

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