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Ranger announces new partnership…

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Wood Manufacturing, Inc., home to the legendary Ranger boat brand, today embraced new ownership as the previously announced acquisition by Platinum Equity was finalized. The transaction, which was approved January 13 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Paul, Minnesota, also gives Platinum Equity ownership of several other leading boat brands previously under the Genmar umbrella. Wood Manufacturing – the nation’s largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats – will be operated independently from the other divisions and will continue on under the leadership of the existing local management which boasts more than four decades of experience. Both initiatives are designed to maintain the company’s focus on quality products and longstanding commitment to the sport of fishing. In addition, the same management team will also continue to be responsible for Stratos Boats as well as the Champion brand.

“Ranger has always been the leader in its marketplace, with an established brand, broad product line and extremely loyal customers. It’s an extraordinary company and we’re excited and privileged to partner with this outstanding management team. We are totally committed to help our new partners continue to thrive and ensure their leadership position well into the future,” said Louis Samson, the Platinum Equity principal who led the transaction. “Their focus on bringing quality products and services to their dealers and family of owners will only intensify through our partnership.”

Ranger Boats President Randy Hopper, along with legendary company founder Forrest L. Wood, spoke about the excitement stemming from the new partnership. “We couldn’t be more pleased,” said Hopper. “Our capital structure going forward will allow us to keep our focus where it should be – building the most sought after fishing boats in the world.” Echoing Hopper’s comments, Wood emphasized his staunch support and continued affiliation with the company. “It’s great to see this partnership promoting so many unique opportunities. The Ranger Family is full of wonderful, talented folks and Nina and I are so proud to be a part of it all. We look forward to continuing the programs that have served Ranger well for more than 40 years. Building the best product and encouraging increased participation in a sport for all ages have always been our goals, and we all look forward to a thriving relationship with our new partner.”

According to Hopper, Ranger Boats enters 2010 with the strongest model lineup in its 40-plus year history. In an economy where many manufacturers are choosing to scale back their efforts and offerings, Ranger is being recognized by several industry leaders, including Trailer Boats magazine for aggressively developing new models. In their January issue, Ranger’s all-new Z521 Comanche received Trailer Boats’ prestigious 2010 Excellence in Design award for freshwater fishing boats — an honor reserved for the industrys most exciting and innovative new craft. We will have Randy Hopper on Wired Radio with Terry Brown later today. Stay tuned.