20/11/2013 | by Nina Zietman
All photos by Ed Blomfield
Rumours had been flying around for months and now it’s finally official. After seventeen years of ownership, Quiksilver has just announced the sale of Mervin Snowboard Manufacturing.
Founded by snowboarders Mike Olson and Pete Saari in 1977, Mervin is the parent company of Lib Tech, Gnu, Roxy Snowboarding and Bent Metal. The company was sold to Quik in 1997 but the brands all retained their own identities. Lib Tech in particular is one of the industry’s most respected board-crafters, synonymous with big names (Jamie Lynn, Travis Rice) and big ideas (Skate Banana, Magne-traction).
The sale hasn’t come as a huge surprise; we’d heard through the grapevine that Quiksilver had been having problems, and had posted losses for the last six years in a row. A plan was put in place to turn things around, and back in May the announcement came that they would be looking to offload “non-core businesses”. With the focus being concentrated on the Quiksilver, DC and Roxy brands, it was just a matter of time before Mervin was sold. The company will move in to the hands of Extreme Holdings Inc. and for the time being we’re to assume production will carry on as normal.
As for Roxy’s snowboarding division, that was bundled under Mervin while the rest of the brand stayed with Quiksilver. Given that the Roxy logo incorporates Quik’s, it’s unlikely that Roxy Snowboarding, which backs Torah Bright and Aimee Fuller among others, can be manufactured by anyone else. We’re guessing Mervin will either stop making the boards or sell them back to Quiksilver once constructed.
Altamont Capital Partners, the private equity company who advised on the deal, have spoken optimistically about “building on Mervin’s strong brand position of authenticity, premium products and service and its history of driving innovation”. We think that’s business-speak for “Mervin won’t be meeting the same fate that Forum did almost exactly a year ago”, so that’s reassuring.