Since its beginnings just over 34 years ago, Vancouver, B.C.-based bicycle manufacturer Kona Bicycles says it has “evolved from a small business in the Pacific Northwest to a far-reaching global brand.” On Jan. 19, the Canadian company announced that it has joined U.S.-based Kent Outdoors (formerly Kent Watersports) “to compete in a rapidly evolving industry.” Two days before the acquisition, Boston-based private equity firm Seawall Capital, owner of Kent Watersports, announced that the company would be renamed Kent Outdoors. The renaming is in response “to Kent’s expanded focus on the full range of outdoor recreation activities.” Concurrent with the acquisition of Kona Bicycles, the Texas-based watersports brand Bote (stand-up paddleboards, inflatable kayaks, etc.) was also acquired. However, no information was provided on the respective purchase prices.

Commenting on the strategic expansion of Kent’s portfolio, which already consists of 20 water sports and outdoor brands, Kent Outdoors CEO and U.S. outdoor industry veteran Ken Meidell said Kent Outdoors is and always has been a place where passionate founders can develop their brands, “We believe in autonomy with accountability for our brands: We provide focused behind-the-scenes support while giving each brand the independence to develop to its full potential. Our goal is to give visionary founders space to create, build and better connect with each other and their customers.” Meidell will also serve as CEO of Kona Bicycles. To support a new generation of leaders at Kona, founders Dan Gerhard, Jake Heilbron and Jimbo Holmstrom will remain on board in their usual roles. All Kona offices and staff have also been retained. “We are more committed than ever to building great bikes, partnering with our independent bike dealers, and cultivating the Kona Way,“ commented Heilbron, co-founder of Kona Bicycles. “Kent’s investment will enable Kona to invest more meaningfully in these goals to better serve our independent dealers, team members, and customers worldwide. By partnering with Kent, we will give more people the freedom and opportunity to get outdoors on Kona bikes.”