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Thread: Brunswick acquiring Ebonite?

  1. #11
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLV1 View Post
    I'm really surprised that more members here have not commented on this. In case you are not aware, this means that every major bowling ball brand with the exceptions of Storm, Roto Grip, Global, and Motiv will be manufactured by Brunswick. Never mind that they will all be produced in Mexico, they will all eventually be produced using the Brunswick approach to cover materials which will be radically (no pun intended) different from what you are used to getting in any of the Ebonite brands.
    I think people are in one of these camps:

    1) If I get upset and decide to boycott Brunswick...I'm left with either Storm (which most non-Storm throwers hate), Rotogrip (a more expensive version of Storm), 900 Global (which has been on life support for the last decade), or Motiv (cheaters).

    2) I throw Brunswick well....I throw Radical well...I throw DV8 'okay'. Do I give up on brands I throw well to pick up brands I may not throw well (never thrown a 'good' Rotogrip ball).

    3) Who cares? Companies are greedy *******s. Nothing I can do will change that. Brunsiwick already sold out their bowling balls to Mexico. Brunswick already sold out their centers to Bowlmor. Now they are gobbling up the weak Ebonite International...which not too long ago gobbled up Track, Columbia300, and Hammer.

    4) Sucks to be the Ebonite employees...but maybe this makes Ebonite/Columbia300/Hammer/Track balls cheaper...which is good for me and my pocketbook.

    3) What about pro support? All my favorite bowlers throw Brunswick...do I abandon supporting them in retaliation for a decision they had nothing to do with?

    The way I look at it...boycotting Brunswick rewards Storm and Motiv. Even though I like Storm and Motiv's decision to manufacture domestically, I despise Motiv in other ways and have long hated many aspects of Storm's business practices regarding their dealer exclusivity push, their fragaranced ball gimmick, and just the mere fact that you can't turn your head at any pro event without seeing an annoying Storm advertisement or jersey. Do I boycott Brunswick for moving production to Mexico yet buy Pyramid...which only exists because they can make their products in China? And, to your point, boycotting Brunswick now limits the bowler down to ONLY Storm/Rotogrip/Motiv/900Global. So, if you don't throw those brands well...which I don't...at least Rotogrip I don't...then you're now even further limited yourself.

    It's a bad break all around. I don't think anyone wins. Staffers may lose their sponsorships if Brunswick decides to eliminate any brands or simply trim their herd. Bowlers may end up with less choice. Prices may actually rise with lack of competition. Other companies (Storm/Motiv) may respond by moving their manufacturing out of the country to compete. Brunswick may actually lose money on the deal...Track/Ebonite/Columbia have been dwindling for quite some time...with only Hammer really keeping them alive.

    There's no positive.
    In Bag: (: .) Brunswick Aura Mystic; (: .) DV8 Grudge Hybrid; (: .) Brunswick Fortera Exile; (: .) Brunswick Vintage Gold Rhino Pro; (: .) Ebonite Maxim
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  2. #12

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    Ebonite, Hammer, Columbia, and Track are all now under the Brunswick umbrella, joining Brunswick, DV8, and Radical brands. I'm really not sure how pricing is determined, but I'm sure the local market has a lot to do with it. Here in Vegas, with 13 centers within easy driving distance, I have not seen any ball marked for $200 or more in quite a while though I don't get around to a lot of centers like I used to.

  3. #13

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    Multiple thoughts ...

    1) Yes, some of EBI's brands are going to be endangered, for the same reason GM eventually dropped Pontiac, Saturn and Oldsmobile. It's not good enough that design engineering is now housed under one umbrella; for every brand you put out there, it's logos, licensing, publicity, etc. In retrospect, GM should have dropped Buick and kept Pontiac (and rolled Buick into Cadillac somehow) so Brunswick runs the risk of getting rid of, say, Track (long viewed as the "tech guy's brand" under EBI) and then losing that niche to someone else.

    2) The biggest negative to the consumer is the loss of choice. The big question here is who supplies resins to Brunswick and Ebonite. Ebonite's covers, to me, were always far more aggressive but also less durable over time. So if you liked to buy new balls a lot and try them out, you got a lot of bang for your buck from EBI up front, but didn't have a lot of staying power. EBI's covers were more angular, to me. Now, if all EBI is from here out is just a brand name (like AMF is to 900Global), the performance characteristics won't be different enough to justify the expense of carrying the marketing budget for each brand. I used to roll a lot of Lane #1 stuff and it made a huge difference who was doing the pour (Brunswick, then Columbia, then 900G) as to how the cores worked for me, as Lane #1's cores never changed much. That made it easy to compare apples to apples.

    3) It may be that Brunswick's end game is to simply wipe Ebonite off the market anyway. It happens.

    4) I'm most interested in what it says about the industry in general. Markers for bowling have been turning positive the last 4-5 years but a lot of the newer "houses" are 2- and 4-lane string bowling setups that can't be used for competition. But, they do get counted for bowler participation. Meaning, the league side of bowling continues to die out. We've just had the PBA Tour sold to Bowlmor, a move that we won't know for a year or two what kind of dividends it will pay, if any. On top of that, we're now down to three major ball companies (Storm, Brunswick, 900G) and some niche brands, and 900G is supposedly teetering. This is not much different from some of the brand bleed-off that golf has gone through over the past decade, but it doesn't make it stink any less.

    Jess

  4. #14
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JessN16 View Post
    On top of that, we're now down to three major ball companies (Storm, Brunswick, 900G) and some niche brands, and 900G is supposedly teetering.

    Jess
    Storm bought 900 Global in (2015?). I think you mean Motiv. Motiv is definitely bigger than "niche". They have their own pro staff...many successful and on the national tour. They also have fairly fierce brand loyalty...of those that remain after the Jackal fiasco...where they certainly lost loyal customers. But, of the customers that stuck with them...they tend to be very loyal to Motiv.

    I'm not sure what "niche" brands exist anymore. Pyramid is still around, but not sure how their sales are going in the ball area. I think Lane #1 and Lane Masters are gone. I've seen PBS (or something like that) as part of the ball giveaway...never really heard of them before.

    What we do KNOW...is Hammer isn't going away. It's by FAR the strongest brand in the EBI deal. Track may go...Brunswick already has Radical and Mo Pinel....I'm sure the "techie market" will be fine making the transition from Track to Radical. Ebonite has become the "old guys" ball. Columbia300 has been weak in the adult/male market...but they've been very strong in the youth/women's market.

    I think they cut Track, keep Ebonite for the bowling products...but no longer make Ebonite branded balls. I think Columbia300 is safe and they'll likely continue to build on the youth/women's enthusiasm. And I think Hammer is certainly safe. The Hammer brand probably outsells Radical and DV8 combined...so it wouldn't make sense to lose that name.
    In Bag: (: .) Brunswick Aura Mystic; (: .) DV8 Grudge Hybrid; (: .) Brunswick Fortera Exile; (: .) Brunswick Vintage Gold Rhino Pro; (: .) Ebonite Maxim
    USBC#: 8259-59071; USBC Sanctioned Average = 177; Lifetime Average = 169;
    Ball Speed: 15.7mph; Rev. Rate: 240rpm || High Game (sanc.) = 300 (268); High Series (sanc.) = 725 (689); Clean Games: 143

    Smokey this is not 'Nam', this is bowling. There are rules. Proud two-time winner of a bowlingboards.com weekly ball give-away!

  5. #15
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    I apologize in advance, but this is going to be a long post. There are some factors that I feel need to be brought up, but due to the business nature of both Ebonite and the Brunswick Bowling Equipment (owned by Bluearc Capital) being private no information is required to be produced to the investment public. Before going any further nothing in this post is about my feelings towards the unfortunate EBI employees who were laid off - Just mixing in some of my opinions with some perspective on what could have happened.

    Just Bowling:

    A. As a bowler alone, this sucks. As everyone knows there is a lot of uncertainty around this situation and as someone who knows a lot of people under contract with both Brunswick and EBI I feel for all of them. We just had a lot of positivity with the PBA tour and the additional resources that Bowlmor committed to the tour (I will be the first to admit I did not expect this) and then to lose a major player in the market it just hurts.

    B. We are definitely losing a brand or two, really don't think this is as big of a deal as it seems. Assuming those are Columbia and Track the cores and covers will still be available for use and would just have a different brand name to them...this doesn't seem as big of a deal as the other issues. The real change would be in the processing plants, as much as you would try and match the exact specs of a ball, a new processing plant means a change...it can be better or worse.

    C. Talking to those who have basic contracts with both companies, these contracts seem very one-sided. The ball company can seemingly cancel them with or without cause (the terms state measurables that are not that measurable and in all honesty would not be cancelled if beneficial to the ball company). Top tier shops and players will not need to worry, but a piece of the pie is removed and mid-level sponsored bowlers may need to be concerned.

    Financials: We can start a separate thread if we want to go further with this... This is my background, I train others on these concepts and my day to day revolves around it so I'm passionate about the concepts (although we don't have anything near perfect information around this so they are still assumptions).

    A. Being that EBI was located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky for over 50 years I'm going on the assumption that they fully owned the location. If that is the case while there is blame to be put, we can't really name who is at blame in the situation. We don't have, and never will have, the information around the manufacturing plant - this includes the valuation that each side had on it and if it was an option to be purchased (I suspect that Brunswick wasn't interested because Corey Dykstra states that both the Hopkinsville and Mexico plants were running at less than full capacity). https://www.bowlersjournal.com/bruns...e-acquisition/ While this is the typical action for financial fields for obvious security reasons, the only thing I can think is that once the transfer of ownership was removed, there are insurance considerations - it is petty I know, but that is what I can think of for why to not allow them back in the plant.

    B. In regards to the health of EBI. The most recent number I saw was a Bloomberg profile showing revenues of $39.1M. I apologize that I can't share the link but I can't give my log-in information to get past the paywall...and that number will be an estimate again because the financials are not available since the company is not public. Looking at Dykstra's numbers about the 1.7M balls per year market size this number is reasonable (1.7M assuming $100 sales price per ball [blending low end polyester with high end equipment - remember this is price for pro shops and stores] leads us to $170M market size and this would give EBI 23% market share - may not be fully accurate but shows that the $39.1M is not obscene in either direction. Remember - revenue is not profit, but sales before any recognized expense. Average S&P 500 profit margin is around 13% so that would be $5M per year, I don't suspect that they were meeting this number but that doesn't matter. A company with $5M per year profit doesn't have a high valuation so the price wouldn't be crazy and if you are soft on the future of the bowling market you are not going to be increasing the cost much. During the full Brunswick sale process (equipment and houses) the number was thrown out of $270M to $290M for the entire package (https://www.spglobal.com/marketintel...d-by-Gladstone remember the original Brunswick company is public so these numbers have validity and it was later announced that the Bowlmor piece was $270M https://www.chicagotribune.com/busin...717-story.html) - leaving $20M for the Brunswick equipment piece...this is not the exact number but gives you a gist for the actual cost and a comparison for the EBI numbers.

    C. I give the facts above to say this, BlueArc has invested $950 million and has only been around since 2005 (https://bluearccapital.com/firm-overview/) - while bowling doesn't appear to be in their typical investment profile, they could see it as a market to grab a majority of the share rather cheaply. If we say that the full market is evenly split between Storm/Roto, Brunswick, EBI, and Motiv/900 Global/Boutique then for about $40-$50M they just grabbed about 50% of the market. Taking the basic formula we have $170M at 13% s $22.1M...which looks like a pretty quick recovery, even if it is significantly less than that (not saying it is in actuality, but financial analysis would say it is). I would not be surprised if all segments were sent an offer.

    I believe we will need to have more conversation as information is leaked and provided, but I believe we have a pretty solid baseline for what is happening. This is big for our game, and will potentially have a big impact on the market as a whole. If you have specific questions about the financials I am willing to help as possible, I just ask that you make public posts and not private messages...information may be hard to come by due to the non-public nature of all of this and if anyone can help with information it will be better for the group.
    Currently in the arsenal: Roto Grip Hyper Cell (@2000), Hammer Gauntlet Fury (@1000 polished), Roto Grip Idol (@2000), Roto Grip MVP (@1500 polished), Hammer Cherry Vibe (@1500 polished), Hammer Black Widow Urethane (@1000), Jet Blackbird

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslan View Post
    Storm bought 900 Global in (2015?). I think you mean Motiv. Motiv is definitely bigger than "niche". They have their own pro staff...many successful and on the national tour. They also have fairly fierce brand loyalty...of those that remain after the Jackal fiasco...where they certainly lost loyal customers. But, of the customers that stuck with them...they tend to be very loyal to Motiv.

    I'm not sure what "niche" brands exist anymore. Pyramid is still around, but not sure how their sales are going in the ball area. I think Lane #1 and Lane Masters are gone. I've seen PBS (or something like that) as part of the ball giveaway...never really heard of them before.

    What we do KNOW...is Hammer isn't going away. It's by FAR the strongest brand in the EBI deal. Track may go...Brunswick already has Radical and Mo Pinel....I'm sure the "techie market" will be fine making the transition from Track to Radical. Ebonite has become the "old guys" ball. Columbia300 has been weak in the adult/male market...but they've been very strong in the youth/women's market.

    I think they cut Track, keep Ebonite for the bowling products...but no longer make Ebonite branded balls. I think Columbia300 is safe and they'll likely continue to build on the youth/women's enthusiasm. And I think Hammer is certainly safe. The Hammer brand probably outsells Radical and DV8 combined...so it wouldn't make sense to lose that name.
    No, I meant 900Global because I took a big break from drilling new stuff (almost quit the sport entirely due to injury, too) and missed Storm buying 900G, or I'd forgotten it. I just forgot to mention Motiv in my list.

    Either way, I don't see much good coming from losing 1-3 brands due to the merger.

    Jess

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boatman37 View Post

    Where does Hammer fit into this? Are they under the Brunswick umbrella?
    Hammer was part of EBI so owned by Brunswick now. The boat band of Brunswick no longer has anything to do with the bowling Brunswick brand anymore the bowling stuff was bought by a private equity company a year or so ago maybe 2

    Quote Originally Posted by boatman37 View Post
    Ne interesting to see how this plays out. On a side note, a teammate uses DV8. He mentioned about thinking about the new ball (has the Pit Bull now) and said he doesn't want to spend $200. I mentioned that the Brunswick/Radicals are at the most $179 at our shop. He said DV8 are more expensive than those. Any idea if this is true and why?
    This is most likely due to your proshop from what I've seen price wise they are the same at the dealer level
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    High Roller vdubtx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslan View Post
    I'm left with either Storm (which most non-Storm throwers hate), Rotogrip (a more expensive version of Storm), 900 Global (which has been on life support for the last decade), or Motiv (cheaters).
    LOL! Roto Grip is a more expensive version of Storm?

    I do think this is bad for the bowler and bowling industry as a whole. Monopolies are never good for the consumer.

    I do also see Columbia and Track getting cut off. Shame as I recently acquired a Track In2tion ball that has been performing pretty well for me.
    High Sanctioned Scratch Game - 300(12) Hi Sanctioned Scratch Series - 822(3)
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  9. #19
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdubtx View Post
    LOL! Roto Grip is a more expensive version of Storm?
    Well, it is. RG's high end are slightly more expensive than Storm's high ends. Storms low end (Breezes) are slightly less costly than RGs low ends (Uproars, Wreckers, and what not).

    Quote Originally Posted by vdubtx View Post
    I do also see Columbia and Track getting cut off. Shame as I recently acquired a Track In2tion ball that has been performing pretty well for me.
    Why Columbia300 and not Ebonite? Not counting the Cyclone (best ball for the money since the Slingshot...maybe ever)...I haven't seen a popular Ebonite ball since the Code of Honor. Columbia hasn't had anything good lately...but the Smackdown/Takedown line and Antics line were stronger than anything Ebonite has put together as of late. And how can you get rid of the White Dot...the most popular ball on the market...thrown as a strike ball by old ladies and as a spare ball by everyone that doesn't see spending $100 on a plastic spare ball.
    In Bag: (: .) Brunswick Aura Mystic; (: .) DV8 Grudge Hybrid; (: .) Brunswick Fortera Exile; (: .) Brunswick Vintage Gold Rhino Pro; (: .) Ebonite Maxim
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    Ball Speed: 15.7mph; Rev. Rate: 240rpm || High Game (sanc.) = 300 (268); High Series (sanc.) = 725 (689); Clean Games: 143

    Smokey this is not 'Nam', this is bowling. There are rules. Proud two-time winner of a bowlingboards.com weekly ball give-away!

  10. #20
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    When we talk about which brands are getting the ax I don't really believe that matters. They will still have a history of the cores and potentially the covers (granted there will be some differences with a new plant) so any ball combination can be rebranded as another label if needed. You keep Hammer due to name recognition, with Columbia vs. Ebonite you really don't have much difference - The Game Breaker is probably the most name recognition in Ebonite, maybe the Chaos for Columbia? (I'm not putting too much into the White Dot because those using brand recognition will know it is just a polyester ball), and Track was known as the techie brand within the profile and you have that with Radical. Granted there was a press release that said the goal was to not remove any of the lines (but 7 seems like too many).

    In regards to Roto Grip vs. Storm pricing if you take the following balls off of bowlingball.com there really isn't much difference, remember you would need to take the "original" price to see what is being recommended...after that is to the discretion of the seller to adjust accordingly (if you are talking pro shop pricing there is likely a degree of price adjusting due to demand that can be extremely regional)

    Mid Tier: Idol Pro ($199.99 down to $139.95) vs. All Road ($199.99 down to $134.99) vs. IQ Tour ($229.99 down to $142.99)
    Low End: Hustle ($119.99 down to $89.99) vs. Tropical Storm ($119.99 down to $79.99)
    High End: Halo Vision ($239.99 down to $174.95) vs. AstroPhsix ($239.99 down to $174.95)
    Currently in the arsenal: Roto Grip Hyper Cell (@2000), Hammer Gauntlet Fury (@1000 polished), Roto Grip Idol (@2000), Roto Grip MVP (@1500 polished), Hammer Cherry Vibe (@1500 polished), Hammer Black Widow Urethane (@1000), Jet Blackbird

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