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News / Business / Clark County Business

Vancouver-based Nautilus selling off its namesake brand

Company to focus on its Bowflex, Schwinn and JRNY brands

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 3, 2023, 11:21am

Vancouver’s longtime fitness giant Nautilus Inc. announced Tuesday it has sold its Nautilus brand, though will keep the company name for now.

The business, which also owns Bowflex, Schwinn and JRNY, is putting all of its efforts into these three core brands.

“When we launched our transformative North Star strategy two years ago, we emphasized the importance of focusing on our Bowflex, Schwinn, and JRNY brands and signaled that we would be de-emphasizing the Nautilus brand,” Nautilus CEO Jim Barr said Wednesday. “Since then, we have stopped manufacturing equipment under the Nautilus brand and have been selling remaining Nautilus products.”

The $13 million sale included the Nautilus brand trademark assets and related licenses. The company said it used the proceeds from the sale to pay down part of a term loan.

The sale will “position us well to continue to capitalize on long-term growth in consumer demand for at-home fitness,” said Barr in a statement.

The company declined to say who exactly acquired the brand.

As a part of the deal, however, the fitness business has a license back, meaning it is able to use the Nautilus brand and sell its remaining Nautilus inventory.

As for the future of the company’s name, no announcements have been made regarding definitive plans.

“That said, over time, we plan to evaluate options on company branding,” read a statement from the company Wednesday.

Nautilus employs 417 people, including 260 in the Vancouver area. The sale doesn’t impact staffing, the company said. And its headquarters will remain in Vancouver.

The Tuesday statement added the action would streamline the business and provide more financial flexibility.

“With the improved financial flexibility from the sale and enhancements to our balance sheet, we’re confident in our ability to manage through the current environment and continue our path to becoming a leader in connected fitness,” said Barr in the statement. “At the same time, our strategic review is ongoing as we continue to assess any opportunities that may accelerate our transformation and enhance value for our shareholders, while also benefitting our customers, employees, retail partners, and vendors.”

Nautilus launched its North Star strategy in 2021, which involved embracing a consumer-first mindset, scaling its digital offering, focusing its investments on core businesses, evolving the company’s supply chain to be a strategic advantage and building organizational capabilities.

Connected fitness

During Barr’s tenure, the company has turned away from just being an equipment company and instead embraced connected fitness.

Connected fitness really came into its own during the pandemic when fitness companies, including Nautilus, saw skyrocketing sales. Those sales, however, have since returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Tuesday’s statement said the company’s fourth-quarter sales are expected to be $62 million, a decline from the previous quarter, which were $98.1 million.

After experiencing declining sales, the company said in February that it planned to lay off 15 percent of its staff and put in place other cost-saving measures. Leadership expected to save $30 million annually by doing so.

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Nautilus’ directors said in September 2022 they were considering selling the entire business.

Barr said the company remains committed to Vancouver and Southwest Washington.

Nautilus, he added, has been among the top workplaces in the area for a decade.

After the announcement on Tuesday, Nautilus Inc.’s stock price closed at $1.32 per share — the same as the previous day. The company’s stock had reached $29.53 a share in February 2021. It trades on the New York Stock Exchange as NLS.