New Era for Gregory
This is a great day for Gregory Mountain Products. Today we have announced that we have entered into transactions in which Gregory and Black Diamond Equipment will be merged into Clarus Corporation, creating a new, multi-branded, publicly-traded platform in the outdoor industry. Many of you know Black Diamond, a pioneering designer and manufacturer of technical, authentic climbing, ski and alpine equipment, as a global brand and business for which we at Gregory have always had tremendous respect. Clarus is a public company with tremendous financial resources but no current operating business that has been searching for some time for the right business to support and help grow. These transactions represent an exciting inflection point for each of these three companies, Clarus, Black Diamond and Gregory.
With these transactions, we are cementing the legacy of what we have built so far while establishing a stronger foundation with new tools and greater resources. Black Diamond will be a great fit for us as we have complementary product lines and distribution and share similar philosophies, culture and values. In addition, we believe the combination of Black Diamond and Gregory represents an exciting new chapter in the evolution of Gregory, one that will allow us to sharpen our focus on designing and manufacturing the best packs in the market and to draw on the strength that Black Diamond has so clearly demonstrated to the outdoor industry.
While both Black Diamond and Gregory have been long term outdoor industry leading companies, this isn't the only thread we have in common. A story I recently heard tells only part of the long and rich history Peter Metcalf, the Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive of Black Diamond, and Wayne Gregory have together. More than 30 years ago as an eager but broke young climber, Peter asked Wayne to sponsor a first ascent he was attempting in Alaska. Although Wayne was in the process of building his company armed with little more than a sewing machine and a VW van, he was moved enough by the appeal to send Peter his first Gregory pack, free of charge. As you may well know, subsequently Wayne and the Gregory team have been through a series of transitions and growth. In 1983, Gregory Mountain Products was acquired by Bianchi International. In December 2004, Armor Holdings, led by Warren Kanders and Rob Schiller, acquired Bianchi and the plan then was the same as the plan today: to use Gregory as a growth platform to build a global public company in the outdoor lifestyle industry. And as many of you know, in March of 2008, Gregory was liberated by Warren and Rob from a large company more broadly focused on personal protection and safety equipment. Today, they are helping us unite with Black Diamond to form a publicly traded company in the outdoor industry.
As you know, since last June we have been searching for the right Chief Executive to lead Gregory toward that goal. I'm excited to announce that as part of the transactions Peter Metcalf has agreed to lead the new combined company. Black Diamond's results speak volumes about Peter's leadership and passion for this industry, having grown BD over nearly 30 years from a business doing less than $1 million in revenues to one with approximately $86 million in revenues in calendar 2009. The Gregory team looks forward to working with Peter and his group.
Black Diamond and Gregory share the passion for the outdoors and for the exploratory spirit that each brand embodies. Black Diamond employees work and play hard with the same authenticity, pride and commitment that has enabled Gregory employees to create the best quality products for over 30 years. In the combined organization, we also have much deeper resources, financially, operationally, and strategically to cement and grow Gregory's presence in all of the markets we serve.
Over the next several months, the management team will be working hard to complete the transactions and develop an integration plan that will benefit both companies as well as our global network of suppliers, partners, customers, and consumers. We will actively and openly communicate with all of our stakeholders as the details of our plans become available.
For now, we want to thank all of our stakeholders - our customers, our employees, our vendors and, most of all, the users of our packs - for helping bring Gregory Mountain Products to the place we find ourselves today. Our success comes now, as it will in the future, from our ability to serve your needs. Our goals remain the same, to continue creating the best products that are available in the marketplace and to stay true to the ideals and the vision that have sustained this company over the years and which will propel us into a bright new future. Wayne Gregory joins our enthusiasm for the road ahead and we look forward to traveling it with you and our new partners at Black Diamond.
With best regards,