The transaction is pending regulatory approval. Terms were not disclosed.
Berkshire, a holding company headquartered in Omaha, Neb., oversees and manages a number of diverse companies, including Geico Auto Insurance, Business Wire, Fruit of the Loom and Shaw Industries. The company has a reputation for acquiring well-performing companies, and leaving management in place to continue to perform well.
Warren Buffett, Berkshire’s CEO and chairman, is one of the richest men in the nation, ranked second to Bill Gates, according to Forbes magazine’s 2007 list.
The Boat America board of directors was amenable to the sale because it ensures future growth for the company, which to date has generated growth internally, according to Mike Sciulla, BoatU.S. vice president of public affairs. He says Berkshire is a $100 billion company with $40 billion in the bank.
“When Berkshire Hathaway came knocking ... it was an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said.
Boat America Corp. was formed in 1966 to provide towing, insurance and finance services to the nonprofit Boat Owners Association of America. The company provides one of the largest recreational boat insurance programs and one of the largest networks of towing vessels. The acquisition does not include BoatU.S.
“Nothing changes at BoatU.S.,” said Sciulla.
Boat America has been an employee-owned company since 2003. Proceeds from the sale will be rolled over into employee 401k retirement accounts, according to Sciulla.
“What it means is that the employees of Boat America, basically, have gotten their investment returns on the ESOP now rather than having to wait 10, 15, 20 years into the future,” said Sciulla. “It’s been a happy day for Boat America employees.”