Newell Brands Inc., owner of Rubbermaid, sheds snow-sports brands

Tupperware or ski tracks? For Newell, the choice has been made. Container photo courtesy Rubbermiad

Tupperware or ski tracks? Container photo courtesy Rubbermiad

Newell Brands Inc. has announced that its winter sports brands K2, Völkl, Marker, Line, Full Tilt and Ride are for sale. The statement, released Tuesday, raises questions about the future of brands that have long made frequent appearances in quivers around the globe, in bounds and in the backcountry.

The Denver Post reported on Tuesday that Newell Brands Inc. intends to cut some of the brands it believes aren’t turning enough profit, and while skiers and riders may not agree with the decision, it may push some of the ski industry’s longest-standing brands into a transitional period.

In December 2015, we reported that Jarden, the former parent company of many of these ski brands, had merged with Newell Brands Inc. in a move that Michael B. Polk, Newell’s Chief Executive Officer, alluded to as strategic diversification.

“The scale of our combined businesses in key categories, channels and geographies creates a much broader canvas on which to leverage our advantaged set of brand development and commercial capabilities for accelerated growth and margin expansion,” Polk told The New York Times on December 14, 2015.

But Tuesday’s news tells a different story. The Wall Street Journal reports that, in April, Polk said he planned to sell underperforming brands, and more than a few of the ski industry’s beloved brands were on that list.

The future of these brands hasn’t yet been carved in stone, and whatever’s next for K2, Völkl, Marker, Line, Full Tilt and Ride rests on the interest of buyers.

“Ideally, I would like to sell these assets versus simply walk away from them,” The Denver Post reported Polk saying at the Barclay’s Consumer Staples Conference in September. Polk then followed up with a less assuring comment: “Some of them are the kinds of businesses that would be difficult to sell, and, therefore, we should just shut down because they create no value for you and they are a distraction for us.”

A distraction? He must not be a skier.

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  1. BRYAN SPIEGEL says:

    When brands get gobbled up by big companies theres always some fear that the passion becomes diluted by corporate structure. This is what the world is becoming. Big box big box. Imagine if the wineries were bought by P&G would the wine taste the same or be as good?

    Im disappointed that companies look at everything as to bottom line. These brands they own are ICONIC and in my opinion they need to reevaluate their focus. If there was something wrong with their products I would fully understand. Aside from full tilt which is a niche boo,t their other lines are stellar and have set numerous design innovation that many have copied. Lets be honest here K2 invented back country, rocker, wide skis and a whole lot more, not too mention Volkyl which have set the bar on quality and german design. Rubbermaid is a product that is timeless because it adapts to consumer demands and is customer centric by way of innovation. K2 is no different. Iconic branding and design driven by real athlete feedback for anyone and everyone. I truly hope they might rethink what their selling and refocus their efforts in driving more sales. The products are perfect.

  2. Begs the question: do you want your avy beacon made by a company that specializes in…trash cans?

    This should be for the best since the industry recognizes the value of these companies, and is better focused to bring them back to an outdoor industry guidance, but only if they can scare up the necessary capital.

    Actually, if the CEO of Newell Brands was a skier, this would be a noon issue, right? Somebody needs to invite the wife and kids out to Aspen for the holidays so we can get ’em booked, then the market focus just might shift for Newell.

  3. Joe Flynn says:

    Guess what, it’s all about the money. Am I missing something about the mega companies? The same shit happens over and over. Not enough profit, then cut them loose. All those glossy ads about those ski brands, did you feel connected? The only thing they wanted from you was your money and lots of it.

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