3M Sells Its Fly-Fishing Businesses

3M Sells Its Fly-Fishing Businesses

The Orvis Company purchased Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels from 3M, and plans to maintain the companies’ independence.

The Orvis Company, Inc., announced Wednesday that it acquired the Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels fly-fishing businesses from 3M.
 
Orvis, a Sunderland, Vermont-based sporting goods store that specializes in high-end fly-fishing equipment, plans to complete the transaction during the second quarter of this year. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
 
Orvis plans to continue operating both businesses independently under their current brand names. Scientific Anglers will stay headquartered in Midland, Michigan, and Ross Reels will remain in Montrose, Colorado. Both businesses will maintain their current operations, facilities, and employees, according to Orvis.
 
“We think both businesses have incredible opportunities to drive fly-fishing innovation well into the future,” Orvis Executive Vice Chairman David Perkins said in a Wednesday statement. “Neither consumers nor the trade will likely notice much of a difference in the branding of these fine businesses under Orvis ownership.”
 
However, Jim Lepage, vice president of Orvis’ rod and tackle division, was appointed president of both businesses and will relocate to Michigan, where he says he will consolidate research and development for both brands.
 
“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,” Lepage said. “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.”
 
Although 3M is most well-known for its adhesives and medial products, it has had a foot in the fly-fishing industry since 1973, when it first acquired Scientific Anglers.
 
According to 3M, its Scientific Anglers division currently makes more fly-fishing lines than any other company in the world. It also contributed to the industry with innovations like the proprietary technology known as Sharkskin, which is meant to allow for further casting and less line tangling.
 
Ross Reels was established in 1973 and provides a full line of fly rods, fly-fishing outfits, rod cases, and other outdoor-related products. 3M acquired Ross Reels in September 2010.
 
Orvis will not carry Scientific Anglers-brand fly lines in its catalog, stores, or website, the company said. There are also no plans to more widely distribute Orvis products through Scientific Anglers’ established accounts.
 
“Each brand must remain focused on being the leading innovator in their respective product categories and distribution channels,” Lepage said. “Maintaining that clarity will be the key to our success.”

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