The managing partner for a Connecticut-based private equity and hedge fund company says their offer to buy Winnebago Industries would allow the company to diversify into assembling cars and trucks. North Street Capital LP has offered to purchase the Forest City-based recreational vehicle manufacturer for $11 a share in cash after Winnebago declined a previous offer made in April of $10.25 a share.
Winnebago earlier today released a statement saying they’ve reviewed the offer with its board of directors and determined that so far there’s not sufficient information to deem the offer as credible. North Street’s managing partner Alex Mascioli says they are less attracted by the Winnebago name than they are by the company itself internally and its integrity to manufacturing.
he says it’s not a secret to anybody that Winnebago has a very strong manufacturing infrastructure and unblemished name that it’s known for in the industry, and he feels that North Street can feed off of that and help it to grow. Mascioli says the RV industry as a whole has been hit hard with the economy and it’s currently stagnant.
He says their purchase of the company could help turn that around. “As a whole we think the company is great, but we also at the same time feel that it needs a little invigoration, it needs a little of somebody to step off the ledge and kind of adapt to the current climate and try to reinvigorate it,” according to Mascioli.
Mascioli says their relationships with overseas automakers could end up having kits sent to Forest City for the final assembly of light and medium trucks and passenger automobiles. He says doing the final assembly would be something that would not only help the company expand and grow revenue wise, it would create a hedging market in the current economic times which he feels has created a very stagnant market for the R-V industry across the board.
Mascioli feels Winnebago’s response to the latest leaves the door open and he hopes company officials are open to hearing further details of North Street’s proposal. “We’re willing to accommodate, you know we’re not looking to be hostile here in anyway, and all we want is just a seat at the table,” Mascioli says.
Mascioli says they an opportunity to explain their visioning and will respond sometime soon the Winnebago release. North Street last September acquired the Swedish luxury car maker Spyker. Mascioli says he’s been in talks with Winnebago for about two months. Winnebago shares on the New York Stock Exchanged spiked upwards at the open up from $8.51 per share at yesterday’s close to $10.02, but the stock since that time has settled back to around $9.00 a share.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City