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Comments by fluxus (5)

Article: Black Diamond Merger
Sosure, If that's the case I have no idea why Peter Metcalf would agree to merge with these guys. I knew Peter and the rest of the BD staff when I lived in SLC and was sponsored by BD. I tested products for them and saw the company from the inside on a daily basis. I can't imagine Peter, or anyone else at BD knowingly turning the company over to a couple of sharks just looking for a quick flip. Do you think that Kanders and Schiller have everyone at BD fooled and that as president and CEO of Clarus, Peter won't be doing the same thing he's been doing for years? There are probably good reasons to not like this sale but to pretend the folks at BD have sold out, are idiots or gone completely, raving, mad makes no sense at all.

Also, if K&S are just looking for quick flips why have they been sitting on their capital since 2002? Certainly in 8 years there have been other opportunities to make a quick buck?

Article: Black Diamond Merger
I'm not so fast to say this is a bad thing. Peter is being made president and CEO of Clarus so he has the same position in the new venture that he did at BD. I think his leadership at BD has been very positive over the years. In addition Clarus is reported to have 82.4 million in cash which could be used to fund an expansion of BD without borrowing any money. BD is only "over" if they suddenly decide to fire the design team and forget the central mission. I'm very skeptical concerning the prospects of that happening. Also keep in mind that the guys at Clarus are not bean counters their last project involved growing a company from an $11 mil. a year company to a 3.5bil company in 10 years time. They are growth guys, which means growing sales.

Article: Black Diamond Merger Followup
You know, there is another angle to the story that no one has commented on.

I've been part of the climbing industry for 20+ years and the one thing myself, and many others, have seen time and time again is outsiders coming into the climbing game thinking that they are going to be "the ones" to make climbing pay off, or to bring climbing into the mainstream, or some other big goal. Most of these people suffer horrible failures in 1 - 3 years and get out of climbing all together. The smart ones get beat up a bit, adjust expectations and end up doing o.k. The climbing business, is high overheard, low margin, and generally very challenging.

Experience suggests that this merger is not nearly as threatening to BD as it is to the majority owners of Clarus.

Other than that its very easy for outsiders who know nothing about either company to be cynical because they are idiots with attitudes. Don't get me wrong there are 1,000 different ways for this thing to fail, but the commentary coming from the climbing community on this topic is totally uninformed.

Article: Black Diamond Merger Followup

Wow, I gotta say you are raising the "I'm a bigger ass hole than you are" bar to a very high level. Nevertheless, are you actually reading my words or are you just looking from someone to be pissy with? I'm not ignoring or ignorant of anything you accuse me of. Try reading the posts son.

On a more real note, what funding do you think Clarus is going to strip BD of? How much money do you think is actually in this deal? BD is a pretty small company for guys who have previously worked on projects worth figures in the low billions. In essence what you are saying your are afraid of is Clarus committing suicide for numbers in the low millions. Keep in mind they were sitting on 81 million in cash according to their SEC filings. They could invest that cash in obvious ways and get as good of a return without the same potential for a big mess that is hard to extract ones self from. Of course all the negatives that people are stating in these threads could very well happen, and I've already noted the well established pattern of outsiders coming into climbing and getting their hats handed to them. But what I am reacting most strongly to is the defacto insistence that Peter Metcalf is some sort of moron who doesn't know what he is getting into or understand the potential risk to BD. That just won't fly with anyone who actually knows the man and the rest of the company. Please name one person who has more skill at running a climbing company and who understands the outdoor market better than Peter and many long time owner / employes of BD such as Russ Clune, Chris Gover, or Jonny woodward. Do you think you are smarter or more knowledgeable then they are? Just say the words: "I know more about this deal and the outdoor industry than Metcalf does"

Also note, I said I know BD as a company, I don't know Clarus. In any case its time for you to put up or shut up. What first hand knowledge do you have of either company in this deal? During the time I was sponsored by BD I was in their offices about 3 times a week, knew most of the employes, and had pretty open access to all departments of the company, I saw the entire process of designing products and bringing them to market first hand. And as I already said I have discussed the Clarus deal with owners (two of them) of the company. SO Before you call me ignorant you better have had more than 7 years experience looking at Clarus or BD from the inside as well as 20 year relationships with ownership. If not, it time for you to shut you cake hole. OR you can come clean and tell us what you actually know. Otherwise you are just another blow hard.

kjaking- While more clothing, less climbing is not impossible. I had that conversation with BD years ago. At the time I was hoping they would do more with clothing because I loved the designs that they did have, and because they made me a really great one of a kind jacket that I loved. Anyway the answer I got was "No way!" They didn't want to be in the clothing business because of the nature of the clothing business. Interestingly the one company I know that is heading exactly into the "puffy jacket" market right now is doing so based on price, their line is going to cost less than half of what folks like the North Face ask while being a similar product, but there are not a lot of clothing items for which that is possible.

You guys can sell all the fear you want, and keep insisting that the sky is falling all you want. indeed this deal could end badly. I for one have never questioned that potential, but I'm willing to wait and see. Keep in mind there is some slim chance that the deal *might* have an up side. I know, that's crazy talk. anyway If it does go badly, BD will most likely survive, beat up, weary, and smaller but there will be climbers interested in rebuilding it.

By the way, how many of you jokers know how / why BD came into existence in the first place?

Article: Black Diamond Merger Followup

You surprise easily. Just because I'm on doesn't mean I'm a noob. What part of the phrase "I've been part of the climbing industry for 20+ years" don't you understand? Of course I know people who are participating in this deal and have talked to them since it happened. I was also sponsored by BD for a number of years, and as a sponsored climber did product testing, and had some involvement with R&D, and saw the workings of BD on a weekly basis.

"However, when I see a well-funded shell company run by a Wall-Street financier purchase a brand-name company with high overhead, I don't see too many positives."

That's right these guys stand to loose their money as I already stated.

"As you mentioned, this is high-overhead, low margin. The new owner cares about money. That's it. He knows next to nothing about anything else; the brand, the employees, the company's history, that's all subservient to cash. "

This is not really counter to anything I wrote above. As I already stated the track record of outsiders coming to the climbing industry is not very good. I have personally known and worked with/for (and closely observed other) outsiders who succeeded and others who failed in climbing. Having the wrong values, expectations, and understandings of the outdoor industry and its potentials is part of a number of failures. That's why it makes a great deal of sense for Clarus to partner with Peter and the rest of the BD crew. If all they can see or understand is cash, I am not sure why they would enter into the outdoor biz in the first place, its a highly competitive, price sensitive and essentially saturated market. As the joke goes: How do you make a small fortune in the climbing biz? Start with a large one.

Here is the thing, if the deal fails as other deals have, there is a pattern. The outsiders realize that they don't want to be in the climbing business and sell their interest in the company either back to the climbers inside the company or to another climbing entity.

In this case though, I don't think for a minute that the new money wants to keep BD as just a climbing company, Look forward to expansions into related areas of the outdoor market. Frankly despite BD's very real excellence in climbing R&D and their long term commitment to climbing, there are better ways to make money in the outdoor industry and BD should probably be going that route, regardless of who funds it.