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Rapala VMC Corporation take 49% share in 13 Fishing

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Rapala VMC Corporation has taken a 49% stake in award-winning US brand, 13 Fishing.

In one of the biggest industry moves of recent years, Rapala VMC has announced that it has acquired 49% of DQC International Corp., owner of the 13 Fishing brand.

The agreement includes a perpetual worldwide licence and exclusive distribution agreement excluding the USA. Rapala will also make a $10 million cash injection to facilitate 13 Fishing’s growth both in the US and international markets.

As part of the transaction, 13 Fishing founder and 51% shareholder, Jim Coble, will receive 225,000 Rapala VMC Corporation shares.

Earlier this year Rapala and Shimano revealed that their longstanding distribution agreement in Europe was coming to an end, with Rapala quickly making it clear that it intended to establish a position in the rods and reels categories.

13 Fishing’s product portfolio, concepts and R&D capabilities will form the future platform for Rapala Group’s global approach into the rod and reel sector.

Established in Florida 2012, 13 Fishing is reputedly one of the fastest-growing rod and reel brands in the US, with gross sales in the region of $25 million. The company has design and development teams in both Florida and Taiwan. The brand won ICAST best in category awards in  2017 and 2018.

Rapala has simultaneously concluded a perpetual licence agreement with 13 Fishing under which Rapala will secure exclusive distribution rights to 13 Fishing’s products and distribute all 13 Fishing’s existing and new products outside the USA.

According to the agreement, Rapala has the perpetual right to use all intellectual property rights of 13 Fishing outside the USA, while DQC International Corp. remains the ultimate brand owner.

13 Fishing’s products will be incorporated into Rapala’s global distribution network outside of the USA. In the USA, Rapala’s and 13 Fishing’s operations will remain separate and independent and possibilities for mutually beneficial operative synergies will be further evaluated in the future.

13 Fishing’s product development team has already started to work with Rapala’s global network to introduce new innovative products to the global markets. Rapala will also invest in marketing and product development resources to ensure the successful introduction of 13 Fishing products to fishermen and retailers outside of the USA.

“Rapala is widely regarded as the largest distribution company in our industry. Where 13 Fishing excels in branding, product development and innovation, it excels in driving operational growth and revenue,” said Jim Coble, President of DQC International Corporation.

“Joining forces with a truly global distribution network and leveraging its vast knowledge will allow the team at 13 Fishing to rapidly accelerate growth.”

Jussi Ristimäki, President and CEO of Rapala VMC Corporation, said his company has for some time been exploring options for a long-lasting solution to entry into the worldwide rod and reel business that would leverage its global presence.

“We have become convinced of 13 Fishing’s capabilities to build a global rod and reel brand in partnership with us. It has a proven record of building a dynamic brand and innovate products, resulting in fast sales growth in the US,” he added.

“We are confident that by combining our industry knowledge, the largest global distribution network in the industry and our understanding of the various tackle markets with Jim Coble’s and his team’s agility, innovation and other capabilities, we can grow 13 Fishing into a worldwide player in rods and reels.”

“The capital injection will accelerate this development both in the US and outside the US.”

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