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Exxel Acquires American Rec

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | 8:04 PM

Exxel Outdoors CEO Harry Kazazian delivered a large dose of pride to his Haleyville sleeping bag factory workers when he announced on the shop floor Wednesday that Exxel has acquired American Recreation Products LLC (American Rec). 

The acquisition will combine the iconic outdoor brands of the American Rec portfolio, which includes Sierra Designs, Kelty, Slumberjack, Wenzel and Ultimate Direction, among others, with the entrepreneurial drive and U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities of Exxel, which operates the Suisse Sport, Master Sportsman, X20 and Ticla brands.

Exxel owns and operates the largest sleeping bag manufacturing facility in the United States, producing approximately two million units annually.

“We're very enthusiastic about the great potential for producing some of the highest quality products of these heritage American brands right here at our Haleyville, Alabama factory," commented Kazazian, who co-founded Exxel.  “Over the last 15 years Exxel has been on the cutting edge of U.S.-based outdoor product manufacturing and we couldn’t be more pleased to manage this leading portfolio of outdoor brands in our space.”

Kazazian thanked Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) for their work on behalf of Alabama manufacturing, which has helped strengthen the company.

"We are able to make this acquisition, thanks in large part to the support of Senator Sessions and Congressman Aderholt, who have worked tirelessly in Washington, D.C. to ensure that U.S. trade policy balances the interests of domestic manufacturers and importers," commented Kazazian.

“I would like to congratulate Exxel Outdoors on this exciting news, which will allow them to continue to grow jobs for our Alabama workers and families," remarked Senator Sessions. "Made in America matters. A vibrant country must have a vibrant manufacturing base, and Exxel reminds us all why it is important to have a just and fair trade policy that defends the legitimate interests of U.S. workers on the world stage.”

The merger of these two leading outdoor industry companies creates a new entity, Exxel Outdoors LLC.  It will be headed by the original co-founders of Exxel Outdoors -- Harry Kazazian as CEO and Armen Kouleyan as Chairman, while adding Brett Jordan from the American Rec business to the President role responsible for day-to-day operations. 

Each of the portfolio brands of Exxel Outdoors LLC will continue to be led and supervised independently with dedicated design, product development, marketing, and sales resources. This structure allows the business to leverage functional expertise while maintaining the unique and authentic spirit of each brand.

“We are excited to partner with the entrepreneurs behind Exxel to create one of the strongest companies in the outdoor space," said Brett Jordan, President of the newly formed company. "This is one of those rare times when both businesses are truly better together than apart and we couldn’t be happier for the employees, customers, and suppliers that will play a role in the future success of Exxel Outdoors.”

Exxel's new portfolio of brands and labels will serve the broadest array of enthusiasts in the outdoor space, by utilizing a disciplined brand strategy to manage distribution channels reaching everyone from the most value-conscious, casual user to the most dedicated core enthusiast.  The company will be able to leverage the global supply network of both former businesses, in addition to world-class U.S. production expertise.

The new Exxel Outdoors LLC will be headquartered in Boulder, CO with its manufacturing plant in Alabama, other facilities in California and Utah, as well as global operations.  The company will produce a wide range of outdoor equipment and apparel for car camping, backpacking, mountaineering, adventure travel, hydration, water sports, hunting, fishing, and tactical.

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