Nidecker Brothers Acquire Rome SDS, and Bataleon Parent Low Pressure Studio
The Nidecker brothers: Henry, Xavier and Cédric
The Nidecker brothers are making major moves in snowboarding.
They announced today that they have acquired Vermont-based Rome SDS in addition to Low Pressure Studio in Europe, which is home to the Bataleon, Lobster and Switchback brands.
Rome will join the operating platform of Low Pressure Studio (LPS), which is based in Amsterdam. However, Rome’s creative, R&D and design will stay in Waterbury, Vermont.
The Nidecker brothers – Henry, Xavier, and Cédric – made these acquisitions separately from the Nidecker Group.
The Nidecker Group already has a lot on its plate and has grown rapidly the past several years by adding brands. Currently it is home to the Nidecker, Yes, Jones, Now, and Flow brands. Nidecker has been a family-owned business for 130 years.
While Rome will join Low Pressure Studio on its operating platform and will remain separate from the Nidecker Group, synergies are expected in sourcing, the back office and other areas. Since the Nidecker brothers own the Nidecker Group, the entities are expected to work closely together.
We have lots more information on the acquisitions below including a Q&A with Nidecker CEO Henry Nidecker; a Q&A with Rome Co-Founder Josh Reid; and the official press release.
Q&A WITH HENRY NIDECKER
Why were you looking to make more acquisitions?
Henry Nidecker: It’s very simple. We believe in snowboarding.
My brothers Xavier and Cédric and I were practically born and raised in a snowboard factory and our Dad gave us the passion of snowboarding, going to all the trade shows, having access to all of the culture, and molding boards since we were kids.
He also gave us the key to being entrepreneurs. When we created the Nidecker Group in 2007 we wanted to put snowboarders back in charge of the snowboard industry. So we have created brands in partnership with athletes at Yes, Jones and Now, and we wanted to consolidate our footprint in the snowboard industry.
Obviously, with the rapid growth of the company over the past few seasons, we already had a lot on our plate. But after our meeting with Dennis Dusseldorp and Danny Kiebert of LPS and Josh Reid and Paul Maravetz of Rome, the synergies between all of us were perfectly matched.
So, it was a logical move, not just in a financial sense, but also in the sense of working to keep that unique energy within the sport that only snowboarder-run companies can bring.
For us acquisition isn’t about buying brands to strip out the assets and the IP, it’s about keeping rider-owned and -run companies at the forefront of the sport.
Anybody that’s spent any time with the Rome or LPS team will testify that there’s a unique energy and passion within those companies that we couldn’t replicate.
Because we have been a family-owned company for over 130 years, we have the chance to focus on the long term and making a positive impact on our sport – rather than on the short term and financial returns.
What does Rome bring to Nidecker?
Henry Nidecker: Growing up surrounded by snowboarding and living in the mountains, I think it’s safe to say that when my brothers and I were younger, we lived, breathed and slept snowboarding.
What Rome was doing at the time was completely different from Nidecker back then. Rome bought a whole new dynamic to the sport. For three kids living in a small town in Switzerland, it was not only cool, but also revolutionary. So, first and foremost, having this brand that we looked up to as kids in the portfolio is really exciting.
However, on a purely business level, it adds another string to the company’s bow while bringing in a group of very talented people to the business who share the same passion for continuing the progression of snowboarding as not only ourselves but also the teams behind the rest of our family of brands.
Henry Nidecker: We think we and Deniis share a share a similar philosophy when it comes to how we manage our companies.
We both created a platform of snowboard brands, support athlete-driven brands and focus on high-end products.
And most importantly, we share the same vision of how to run a company and the same motivation to help all the brands grow. So we connected quickly with Dennis and Danny.
We believe that LPS led by Dennis is the best partner we could have found to create this new snowboarding hub. This will be great home for snowboarder-driven companies.
How will the brands be integrated inside Nidecker Group?
Henry Nidecker: Low Pressure Studio will not be integrated into Nidecker Group but will remain its own multi-brand platform.
All the brands will stay independent when it comes to product and marketing, and we will not dictate how they should be positioned.
All of the brands will evolve in their own ways and appeal to a certain customer. We keep creative strictly separate and each brand has its own brand director.
The main synergies we will get are in logistics, raw material purchase, back-end, and financing as well as on the investment side for all the back-office, IT, consumer services, website, etc.
The set up in LPS is something we had a lot of experience with in the Nidecker Group, so it’s great to leverage this experience for a second home for snowboarder-owned and -operated brands.
How did the Nidecker Group as a whole perform in 2017? Has adding more brands improved the company’s profitability?
Henry Nidecker: Thankfully, Europe was blessed with a very long and strong winter, and from what I understand, many brands have seen great results. This is good news for our industry not only for the manufacturers but also for the retailers, the resorts and everyone involved in snowboarding.
For us, the integration of Flow into the Nidecker group has been very positive. I honestly didn’t expect it to go as smoothly as it did.
The Nidecker brand was introduced back in North America, and is the brand in our portfolio that experienced the highest growth in dollars and in percentage this year.
Our athlete-owned and -operated brands Yes, Jones and Now have all seen double-digit growth and are getting a lot of support from retailers worldwide, so as a company we are in a great place at the moment.
We are not disclosing revenue, but we can say that we are doubling our revenue this year and last year we also doubled compared to the prior year.
The company has gone from 15 employees 10 years ago to over 90 today.
Why was now the right time to sell the company?
Josh Reid: Having been independent and self-sufficient for the last 17 years, Rome is at a point where we’ve been looking for the right partner to work with us to drive the brand to the next level.
Whether it is an accelerated timeline on technologies that we want to introduce, the development of a new approach to selling, or a more aggressive marketing initiative, our goal has been to find a partner looking to assist Rome in these things.
It’s a great time in snowboarding to drive product innovation and to enrich the lives of snowboarders with direct engagements that celebrate the culture of snowboarding.
What changes do you expect post-acquisition?
Josh Reid: We expect to benefit greatly on the sourcing side of things where all the brands within the Nidecker Group and LPS can gain a collective advantage that can strengthen margins and therefore allow for a more forward-looking approach to product, sales and marketing investments.
We also look forward to collaborating with other strong minds in snowboarding to strategically plan what the right next steps are in the evolution of the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate.
Was it hard to think about selling the company you created from scratch?
Josh Reid: Of course. When you bring together a group of passionate, dedicated people to create something new and different, there is a lot of emotional attachment to it.
Within Rome there is a collection of employees, reps, distributors, riders and friends who internally are known as The SDS—the people in this group know who they are.
Over the years, these are the people who have all worked, fought and snowboarded collectively to build Rome. Uncountable fun, adventurous and challenging times.
How tough has the climate in the snowboard industry been the past few years?
Josh Reid: I think we all know many of the challenges in snowboarding over the last few years, from consolidation of the retail landscape to snowfall amounts in certain key markets to the changes in participation, as well as other factors.
So for sure it has been a solid battle. That said, we’ve continued to innovate in product and marketing, while developing passionate sales teams all around the world with the result being a lot of growth years in different markets. But it hasn’t been easy.
Why were the Nidecker brothers a good fit for Rome? What can they bring to the table to help Rome in the future?
Josh Reid: The Nidecker brothers are a perfect fit for the Rome brand and who we are. From the launch of Rome through today, we’ve always believed that snowboarders should own snowboard companies. This is a core value of Rome that will never change.
With Henry, Xavier, Cédric and their father’s history, Rome is able to continue this mission of having snowboarders in control of snowboarding.
Also, Nidecker and LPS are a great fit because they are a product-focused company that mirrors Rome’s Design House approach of putting product innovation as the lynchpin that is necessary to progressing the fun of snowboarding, which at the end of the day, is what it is all about.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
LOW PRESSURE STUDIO and ROME SDS JOIN FORCES SUPPORTED BY THE NIDECKER BROTHERS
Rolle/Amsterdam/Vermont – September 10, 2018
Continuing their vision to keep snowboarders in control of snowboarding, the Nidecker brothers, Cédric, Xavier and Henry have acquired a majority stake in Low Pressure Studio, home of Bataleon, Lobster & Switchback from Jorgen Karlsen, founder of Bataleon Snowboards and inventor of Triple Base Technology / 3BT and SideKick technology.
Henry Nidecker stated: “We have been impressed by the success of Low Pressure Studio and jumped at the opportunity to support a rider-driven brand that reflected our collective passion for snowboarding. This collaboration will allow us to shape the future of our sport and the lifestyle that means so much to all of us. »
In addition, the opportunity also arose to purchase the iconic Rome SDS brand. As one of the original rider driven brands, Rome has been at the forefront of snowboard progression over the past 17 years.
Rome Co-Founder Josh Reid commented: “Since we launched in 2000-2001, we’ve always been pretty clear about what we believe is important in snowboarding. One of those things is having snowboard companies owned and directed by snowboarders. In partnering with LPS and the Nidecker brothers, we’ve made sure this will continue to be a core value at Rome.”
Rome SDS will join Bataleon, Lobster & Switchback as part of Low Pressure Studio, which will continue to operate from Amsterdam with the same team that’s been running the company for over a decade. All of ROME SDS creative, R&D and design will stay in Waterbury, Vermont, USA.
“Combining ROME SDS’ deep roots in snowboarding with Low Pressure Studio’s outstanding operational track record creates an unbeatable multi-brand platform’’, says Dennis Dusseldorp CEO of Low Pressure Studio. “The passion for snowboarding is what drives us all. Feeding off of each-others energy will boost the brands and strengthen our market position while remaining true to our vision of being a home for real rider driven brands.”
“This new partnership is bringing together riders with deep roots in both American and European snowboarding — a first in the history of the snowboarding industry”, said Rome Co-Founder and iconic board designer Paul Maravetz. “I’m super excited to have the backing of Nidecker and LPS to more quickly push forward a lot of the product innovations we have in the works here,”
About Low Pressure Studio :
Low Pressure Studio is the home of Bataleon Snowboards, Lobster Snowboards and Switchback Bindings and is run by Dennis Dusseldorp and Danny Kiebert. Originally from Amsterdam, they have committed their lives to Snowboarding, working for years for various resorts, brands and media outlets across Europe and New Zealand in the 90s. They introduced Bataleon Snowboards to a wider market and created a strong following of riders committed to their 3D designs. They have never produced a board without 3BT, and they have been on the forefront of 3D shaping in the industry. In 2011, Dennis and Danny teamed up with legendary snowboarders Halldor and Eiki Helgason to create Lobster Snowboards. Switchback Bindings soon followed and the time came to create Low Pressure Studio as a rider and innovation driven multi-brand platform.
About Rome :
Rome. Back in 2001, the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate was co-founded by Josh Reid and Paul Maravetz to create a brand rooted in product design, a collective approach to creativity and the age-old values of sideways sliding knuckle draggers. The Rome brand has inspired us a lot over the years with their innovative approach to both marketing and product design.
About Nidecker Group:
The Nidecker Group is the home of innovative and inspirational action sports brands: Nidecker, Yes, Jones, Now and Flow. We create, operate, and accelerate industry-leading brands internationally with one goal: to inspire and enable athletes to lead the progression of their sport.
Founded in 1887 in the Swiss Alps and one hundred percent family owned, every generation has been fuelled by a passion for innovation and action sports. We began our story as master craftsmen, making wooden wheels and tables before moving on to sleds and cross-country skis. In 1912 we started manufacturing alpine skis, then water skis, monoskis and finally snowboards in 1984. Today, we are the oldest action sports company in the world and have built highly successful brands, which have played an integral role in the evolution of every industry in which we’ve been involved for over five generations.