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Brunswick CEO: Selling Bowling Division Led to Life Fitness Investment, Cybex Acquisition

Brunswick CEO: Selling Bowling Division Led to Life Fitness Investment, Cybex Acquisition

New Brunswick CEO Mark Schwabero recently sat down for a question-and-answer session with the Chicago Tribune, and the interview revealed more insights into the company's operations.

The Tribune's story described Schwabero as instrumental in Brunswick's decision to sell its retail bowling business to Bowlmor AMF in 2014 for $270 million. The impact from that sale is still being felt, most notably with Brunswick's recent acquisition of Cybex for $195 million in January.

Brunswick CEO Mark Schwabero. (Photo courtesy Brunswick.)

"We had $270 million in proceeds from bowling retail, and we've basically taken that and invested it in our marine parts and accessories business and our Life Fitness businesses and the recent acquisition of Cybex," Schwabero told the Tribune.

Schwabero led Brunswick's acquisition team in the Cybex transaction, which is integral to company plans for doubling its Life Fitness segment revenue by 2020, the company said in a press release earlier this month. Life Fitness revenue was $769.3 million in 2015, and Brunswick revenue was $4.1 billion in 2015 across all segments, according to the most recent Brunswick financial disclosure.

Brunswick will continue to grow from its core business (marine products) or adjacencies added to the core business, Schwabero noted in the Tribune interview. In 2015, Brunswick entered into the rehabilitation and active aging market with the purchase of SCIFIT for an undisclosed amount, invested $4 million into the Life Fitness factory expansion in Ramsey, Minnesota, and entered the corporate wellness space with the launch of the InMovement product line designed to incorporate movement into an employee's work habits.

Brunswick's billiards segment, which became part of Life Fitness in 2015, will remain part of the company.

"It's a small part of our business, but we're still the biggest player in the billiards space," Schwabero told the Tribune. "It's the namesake of the company."

Schwabero was appointed Brunswick chairman and CEO in February to replace retiring Chairman and CEO Dustan McCoy, who served in that position since 2005. Schwabero was most recently the Brunswick president and chief operating officer in a position he held since May 2014. He joined Brunswick subsidiary Mercury Marine in 2008 as president after 28 years as a senior executive in the automotive and commercial vehicle industries.

Brunswick may still be exploring acquisitions even with the recent additions of SCIFIT and Cybex. The company plans to "pursue acquisition opportunities" with an initial focus on Mercury parts and accessories, and Life Fitness as part of its capital strategy from 2016 to 2018, the company told investors in November 2015. 

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