ON AGAIN! Garmin makes offer for Raymarine

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 28, 2010

Amazing!  Garmin just announced a very public and serious offer for Raymarine.  The Wall Street Journal has the 30 page (!) announcement here, but this London Stock Exchange link is easier to read. Garmin is offering 15 pence per share, which is way up from what we've heard recently (see comments here), and it's waived any further due diligence.  There are only two factors that could stop this deal from happening, I think:  The displeasure of either Raymarine's board or the U.K. anti-trust regulators.  And by being so public with the offer, Garmin is expressing a lot of confidence that both those parties will find the offer acceptable.  Maybe it's time to think about a marine electronics world where two of the biggest brands are one...

Here's a portion of the Garmin offer regarding the anti-trust issue:

The Raymarine board has publicly cast doubt on Garmin's ability to secure the necessary anti-trust approvals.  Garmin has undertaken an extensive analysis of the potential impact of the Acquisition on the markets in which Garmin and Raymarine both participate.  Based on this analysis, it is Garmin's opinion that the marine electronics market is highly competitive and Garmin expects to obtain the necessary merger control approvals in relation to the Offer.

More specifically, Garmin believes that competition from the worldwide market leaders (Furuno and Navico) as well as from other established players (such as Johnson Outdoor, JRC, ICOM, Standard, Koden, Cytech, Uniden, Suunto, Sitex, Standard Horizon, Boeing and others) is significant.  It estimates the combined worldwide market share of Raymarine and Garmin to be below 30 per cent and therefore below the level at which competition concerns are typically thought to arise.  It is Garmin's opinion that the acquisition of Raymarine will intensify competition in the worldwide marine electronics market and that customers will continue to enjoy, and benefit from, a wide choice of high quality products.  Indeed, Garmin believes that the Enlarged Group will provide a significantly improved offering to customers than is currently the case as a result of efficiencies and because the product portfolios of Garmin and Raymarine are highly complementary.  

Garmin does not consider that a significant impediment to effective competition arises and therefore expects to obtain the necessary merger control approvals in relation to the Offer.  In this regard, notifications are being made to the relevant regulatory authorities and Garmin expects to obtain relevant approvals during the third quarter of 2010.

What do you think?


FYI, I just got off the phone with Ted Gartner, Garmin's head of communications. He really couldn't tell me much more than what's in the (lengthy) release, and what I wrote above, but he sure can keep a secret. Though he hosted the tour and fishing trip I was on last week, I came home without a clue about this.

Posted by: Ben E at April 28, 2010 1:06 PM | Reply


It would be much better for those of us that just bought Raymarine gear recently if a non competitor bought them. If Garmin buys them then the brand will just get dismantled and all the technology will be non upgradable.

Ahh well....

Posted by: Geoff Collins at April 28, 2010 1:52 PM | Reply

All I can say is - let someone buy them. Raymarine has said/shown that they can't stand on their own for an indefinite period of time. They have some good new products and integrations and have been a long time contributor with regards to improving marine electronics. Get the Garmin engineers together with the Raymarine engineers and I think, if done well, it could be a pretty good marriage. I wouldn't make the assumption that Raymarine would be dismantled. I think we'd certainly see some products go away at both organizations, but Raymarine has made investments into some technologies that Garmin hasn't, and they've been doing it for longer. And - as an owner of Raymarine equipment - I'd much rather have SOMEONE take them over rather than see them slide away into oblivion.

Posted by: Chris s/v/ Pelican at April 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Reply

Adopting a completely dispassionate interest, I'm going to fix a really big bowl of popcorn. This will be a wild spring!

Posted by: Sandy Daugherty at April 28, 2010 4:28 PM | Reply


The Board is in advanced discussions with a third party regarding a sale of Raymarine Holdings Limited, representing the entire business operations of Raymarine and its subsidiary undertakings.

In the light of these discussions, the Board urges shareholders to take no action at this time.

Posted by: Pepe Perez at April 28, 2010 6:01 PM | Reply

um, yikes!

Posted by: mrfugu at April 29, 2010 1:04 AM | Reply

I hope for the benefit of those who own Raymarine equipment that Garmin does a better job than Navico of supporting the brand if the acquisition goes ahead.

Garmin's strategy might be to do what Navico did with Northstar and create branding for a "high end" line of marine product, though their recent product introductions such as the 7000 series show them doing that using the Garmin name.

I have never liked Raymarine equipment going way back to a horrible experience with one of their sounders. There is something about their interface and the "look and feel" of the equipment that doesn't work for me. The newest stuff I have played with at boat shows is much better, I have to admit, and of course we all benefit from strong and successful manufacturers of marine electronics.

Posted by: Quitsa at April 29, 2010 2:26 AM | Reply

There are a lot of good people at Raymarine who have suffered through some horrendous top management from the spin-out from Raytheon, the destruction of shareholder value and now the fire sale to Garmin. For their sake, I hope that Garmin preserves the engineering and support staff. I have appreciated the support from Raymarine where I have found the human support (i.e., talk to a tech) better than Garmin.

Usually the back office and distribution (sales/marketing) people are the first to go in such a merger as they are the most redundant with the acquiring company.

Garmin did not get to be so large by being incompetent. And they are in it for the long haul, as compared to the private equity rollup attitude at Navico. I'd prefer an industry with three strong players who can invest in R&D and present real choices, to an industry with 20 boutiques, each struggling to stay afloat.

Posted by: Russ at April 29, 2010 8:44 AM | Reply

Russ, I don't think that characterization of Navico is at all realistic. They were faced with a daunting hodge podge of brands and systems, and I think they're climbing out of it pretty nicely. Lowrance HDS, Simrad NSE, Broadband Radar and Sonar, Structure Scan, distributed power integration, good N2K and Ethernet support, and a lot of interesting moves to come (I hear)...looks like they're positioned for the long haul to me.

Posted by: Ben E at April 29, 2010 9:16 AM | Reply

If Raymarine wasn't a public traded company - very few would know about these behind the scenes issues with money.

Granted, when the fiat bubble popped (illusory wealth erased) the first time in 2008 - guess what got cut first?

Disposable income. Kinda hard to soldier on when the recreational guy who owns a SeaRay just lost $30k+ in the market, or that the guy who buys ST40 gear that just lost his job.

Of course it doesn't help that those running the Ray ship after the split between high seas and rec products were made into millionaires through (better if I don't speculate). Recall there was a pretty low dark spot for Ray back in 2003 as well. They have made great strides since then, in product interface and reliability.

There's a combo of things contributing to the whole situation, hopefully in the end the service and support staff remain in place. The brand isn't going to die, maybe a Garmin aquisition will finally resolve these NMEA 0183 issues between the two brands. ;P

Posted by: Terry at April 29, 2010 10:31 AM | Reply

I am hopefull that Raymarine stays around regardless who buys them. Excellent equipment and support staff.

I also admit that I prefer to not have Garmin buy them. --- As most Raymarine fans would agree, I suspect.

Competition is the name of the game.

Posted by: T. Martin at April 29, 2010 11:37 AM | Reply

Can't see competition authorities, especially EU going with this. In the marine sector Garmin and Raymarine have been the big two. Don't understand what value Garmin see in the aquisition as many routes to channel supply both brands already, and garmin now have a complete networked marine product range unlike four years ago. Garmin are surging forward, have the OEM market converted, have the distribution network, so don't need raymarines obsolete customer base. New top end products completely overlap.

Posted by: OceanFroggie at April 30, 2010 1:15 AM | Reply

While I am aware of Raymarine and Garmin's respective reputations and market share in North America, I don't know how Garmin does in Europe, where I saw and continue to hear of a lot of Raymarine products on recreational yachts. I would say that Raymarine and Furuno were about evenly split in Europe, to judge from dock-walking and peering into various well-equipped cockpits, with the relatively unknown in N.A. Navman brand in third. I also saw a few NASA logos. NASA (http://www.nasamarine.com/) is the unfortunately named British firm that makes affordable AIS units and other instruments. I think they are aligned or owned by Si-Tex.

Anyway, we live in interesting times. I've seen too many balky or unintuitive Raymarine units to mourn much (I even own a 420 plotter that came with the boat), but I'm not sure that Garmin, a newer firm lacking (perhaps undeservedly) a reputation for "oceanic grade" components, can capture Raymarine's loyal following.

Posted by: M. Dacey at April 30, 2010 9:59 AM | Reply

Consider that Garmin is a well run company which has interests other than just marine electroncis. Garmin's yearly production is 14x RayMarine. It is rumored that FLIR is the 3rd party. FLIR is also well positioned financially, and has diverse interests, but none in the navigational electronics sector. The talks have been going on since June 2009, and I suspect that they are not over yet.

Posted by: Bob Austin at April 30, 2010 9:25 PM | Reply

If Garmin purchases Raymarine they will be buying a worldwide network of marine service and installation dealers which i well worth the money! Garmin understands consumer electronics where their products like their ICN, handheld GPS, fitness products etc can easily be returned to base for warranty. Radars, autopilots,MFD's fitted to boats are a different story and they need onboard service as opposed to "online service like they offer with Garmin products.

I have a Garmin ICN and it's great. I needed to dowmload software to sort out a power up issue and not only was the software and instructions available online, it was easy. However if i have problems with my autopilot (like I did with a Furuno Nav511OB) the local technical dealer came to my boat, corrected my settings and set it up perfectly and for that I was happy to pay for his services and expertise. I do not know of many Garmin service agent that have tha level of expertise?

Posted by: John at May 1, 2010 9:22 AM | Reply

I'm curious to see if Raymarine will then continue to support C-Map and Navionics. I believe eventually Garmin wants also to own the chart business.

Posted by: marcello at May 2, 2010 3:32 PM | Reply

Ray is shut down this afternoon for a company meeting, that I suspect is about the status of a possible takeover. The people at Ray I have spoken to are concerned about their jobs, and whether they would have to move to Kansas. Despite the movie, they won't be able to click their heels together to go home to NH. It's a good brand, and I hpoe they won't get dismembered.

Posted by: Bill Bishop at May 4, 2010 3:02 PM | Reply

Given the situation with the oil spill down south Flir is currently the company that will be/is recouping the windfall from it, thus putting them in that much better position to push their interests in Raymarine.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 4, 2010 6:18 PM | Reply

Bill, I heard that the Raymarine meeting was a normally scheduled "employee recognition" event that had been scheduled since December, and also that spirits were good though no one knows what's going in terms of the sale. Apparently "Uncle Ray" typically holds a number of events like that -- barbecues, outings, etc.

Posted by: Ben E at May 6, 2010 3:55 PM | Reply

They are in administration now. Garmin have made a large offer. I hope they don't buy them as it will mean
a big share of the Market goes to one company. That can't be good for us boaters.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 14, 2010 12:49 PM | Reply

Posted by: Ben E at May 14, 2010 1:40 PM | Reply

Ben, Have you confirmed this?

FLIR Systems acquires Raymarine

FLIR Systems announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement with the administrator of Raymarine plc to acquire all of the outstanding shares of its wholly owned subsidiary, Raymarine Holdings Limited.

Posted by: Capn Chuck at May 14, 2010 2:19 PM | Reply

It sounds like a crazy day in London, Chuck, the deal is indeed done:


Posted by: Ben E at May 14, 2010 3:49 PM | Reply

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