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Jeff Pontius: ‘Zebco open to more acquisitions’

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Jeff Pontius tells all in the Big Interview in the November issue of Angling International.

Jeff Pontius, the man who led Zebco’s recent purchase of Preston Innovations, has revealed that it was the UK company’s potential for growth in Europe that drove the acquisition.

In a frank, in-depth interview with Angling International, Pontius also discloses that, despite acquiring one of Europe’s most admired brands, he remains open to further purchases.

Only months before the Preston deal, Zebco had come incredibly close to acquiring Fox International, but when Preston became available shortly after the Fox deal fell through, Pontius moved quickly to clinch the deal.

“Fox and Preston are very different propositions. We recognise that Preston is not as far down the road in Europe as Fox, which probably has 70% of its business there.,” he said. “But Preston is a strong brand with the potential to become pan European. The growth sources are more obvious. We will provide the help and investment needed to make that happen.”

Pontius has no immediate plans to appoint a replacement managing director at the top of the UK business, preferring to get a feel for the company by spending one week a month at its Telford HQ.

“It is not unusual to see a buying company make mistakes because they haven’t had time to understand the business they are taking on,” he says.

Looking ahead, Pontius said that Zebco is not ruling out further acquisition. “It is a very big market that still offers growth potential, though we would have to be more selective now to avoid creating overlap.”

However, he also believes there could be added competition from venture capital companies looking to acquire fishing businesses. “Right now they have a lot of money that they need to invest,” he added.

• Read Melvyn Bagnall’s Big Interview with Jeff Pontius in Angling International at

www.angling-international.com/virtual-magazine/november-2014-issue-82/

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