Santa Cruz Factory Tour (22)
Santa Cruz Bicycles sold yesterday. They sold to a a Dutch company called Pon Holdings, which also owns Cervelo, Focus, and several other lesser known cycling brands.

As many media outlets have alluded, co-founders Rob Roskopp and Rich Novak probably made out like bandits, but there’s more to the story then just that.

So why sell? Why now? Why to these people? To learn a little bit more about the how and why, I reached out to Joe Graney, the Chief Operating Officer of Santa Cruz Bikes.

Nomad, La Parva, Chile, Iago Garay, Dylan Wolksy, Parvaso,
 Typically brands sell because they’re in economic trouble. They’re bankrupt or near bankrupt and a shakeup is required to try and salvage the operation. It’s these types of sales that have made many people cynical about acquisition deals.

Santa Cruz Bikes is not on unsteady financial ground. They’ve created a series of popular models in recent years, and if a quick look around my local trail head is any indication, business is booming. This success has lead a number of outside investors to come a-knocking.

Despite several lucrative offers, the co-owners had always resisted selling any part of the brand. Their major concern was that these groups didn’t have the long term interest of the brand or its employees at heart.

So why now?  It certainly wasn’t about money. This brand and its employees are important to Roskopp. He’s been an integral part of Santa Cruz from its inception and has done it all. In the early days, he assembled frames during the day, then would come in during the evenings to powder coat.  For him and his team, the decision to join Pon offered strategic benefits that would allow Santa Cruz to expand – without assuming more risk to the brand and its employees.

With its existing network of brands, working within the Pon Holding group will allow SCB to improve internal logistics as well as expand further internationally. As a side benefit, Santa Cruz employees will be able to interact and learn from other impressive brands within the same family.

Pon Holdings is not in the business of reorganizing firms for short term profits. Day to day business operations at Santa Cruz will continue as usual. Rob Roskopp, Joe Graney, and the entire product development, marketing, sales, tech support, and assembly team will remain intact.

What makes Santa Cruz Bikes special is the employees. Everyone from the guy packing frames into cardboard boxes to the CEO is passionate about riding bikes. Their process isn’t driven by numbers, it’s about passion.

So while the name on the paychecks may change, the people behind the products havn’t….and btw, they now offer a lifetime warranty on all of their frames.

Santa Cruz Bicycles

 

40 COMMENTS

  1. its not about money, its about strategic benefits to expand.

    AKA.. money. but hey, its not necessarily a bad thing.

  2. Love the comments from the spunk trumpets “sad day, rip santa xruz” or “never trust a skateboarder”. Shows 2 things:

    A) You have no idea about how business works
    B) Jealous you still file tps reports while others live the dream

    Kudos to Santa Cruz. More money means even more innovation from this solid brand. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

  3. The way I look at it; they probably wanted the R&D money and capabilities that can only be found by being a Big Brand. This will probably up their product design a couple notches.

  4. Love people who haven’t accomplished one tenth of one percent of what these guys have, telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

    I say congrats to you guys, you’ve done a magnificent job and deserve to enjoys the spoils of your success.

  5. Will be interesting to see what they do with their rep force…no need for duplication.
    Also, Cervelo not in internet retailers…with Backcountry sold, maybe time for a change.
    Shops will love joining Cervelo, Focus and SC together…will create a nice marriage for
    non-big 4 shops…Yahoooo!

  6. @haromania those guys are the ones buying SC frames and bikes. In other words the people who helped the company by buying their products. So people have the right to be disappointed if the company no longer fits the their requirements and standards.

    Now to say people on here are not accomplish is a statement of a fool that doesn’t have a understanding what a accomplishment actually is.

  7. Not a bad move if it allows them to improve r&d and challenge some of the big boys whilst retaining their identity.

  8. I wonder if Santa Cruz will now get the obligatory “sell out” anytime they release a new platform or model. Just like Cervelo and Cannondale

  9. My biggest issue is that now they have someone that they have to answer too. A holding company doesnt get into a business based on “principle”. I’m not willing to write them off yet, but I don’t think this is a positive move forwardnfor the consumer. Time will tell.

  10. Seriously though, Pon didn’t invest in SC – they bought them. Just becuase current management is staying for now doesn’t mean a thing. The owners got their parachute. Good for them. Another small company will fill their role of being a brand with soul.

  11. @Mac: By similar logic, just because SC was bought by Pon, doesn’t mean that SC will lose its “soul” or in any way become less than they are now. We’ll have to wait for time to advance more before we see what internet comment section “analysis” comes to fruition. It seems kind of stupid to not give them a chance.

  12. @wookie: better check your history before you buy your ibis. It sold a long time ago and was killed by am equity firm who was clueless about the cycling industry. It was resurrected only because there was money to be made. That’s business. At least these guys know bikes. If you knew anything about the brand you’d know the SCB folks aren’t interested in killing what they’ve accomplished.

  13. Um, Roskopp put in a couple decades of hard work and made a bad a** company with great products. What the hell is wrong with that? And if dude wants to sell while things are good, why not let him do his thing and send best wishes? This is the type of American story that needs to be celebrated, so it’s proper on the 4th imo. Too many 9-5 cry baby sheep in this country, we need more Roskopps!

    Plus the early SC boards and Jim Phillips target graphics are iconic to those of us grew up in the 1980s. I can smell teen summer when I see those images. This guy is a d*mn legend and i hope he got rich.

  14. Call420 & Clyde, I am well aware of the Ibis history! I just ordered a Fat Chance as well. Ibis is back in the hands of Scott Nichols and FC is back with Chris.

  15. ”It certainly wasn’t about money.”

    Thats a load of BS Joe. you can spin it any way you want, but generally a successfull business man does indeed care about the financials when he sells his company.

  16. Congrats on the sale and move.
    While Santa Cruz was a privately held business, Pon Holdings is a publicly traded services group which means they have to answer to a board of directors and shareholders. Even though you retain the nameplate on the door it doesn’t mean you drive the business anymore. Unless someone buys out the shares and transfers back to a privately held company, then business direction could turn at any moment if that portion of the group is losing money. Like @Tyler said above ‘only time will tell’.

  17. Not sure how this will play out. But history tells me other wise. Look at brands like Bontrager, Fisher, Klein, and Lemond. Swallowed up, and absorbed.

    Also, Tallboy LT was dropped from their lineup as well.

  18. Not thrilled, but if Roskopp et al are ready to sell the bloom is already off. All good things come to an end, perhaps this isn’t the end of the good days for SCB. Only one way to find out.

  19. I find it incredibly funny when people call SC a small company they are a 50 million a year company thats a giant compared to Ibis, Transition, Evil, YT or Turner. These are small companies, SC is probably bigger then the ones i just listed combined. SC is a Huge name in the MTB world and the PON group just bought them a nice brand. What i’m interested to see is how this will affect SC online sales cuz they are found on almost all major online retailers, were Cervelo and Focus are not really sold online at all.

  20. all same good reason ! but they sold it ! now it is gone
    tomorrow will be another day
    Chinese might have more work to carry out and may be some SC employees more time to ride.

    enjoy ! it is a wonderful world

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