RevZilla NOT Acquired by Cycle Gear But…
Late last week, Reuters reported that Philadelphia-based motorcycle parts startup RevZilla was on the cusp of being acquired by Cycle Gear, creating a company worth approximately $400 million to $500 million. But that wasn’t how it turned out.
Today, RevZilla announced that it’s partnering with J.W. Childs (the private equity firm that owns Cycle Gear) to form a new holding company that will own both Cycle Gear and RevZilla. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
“Both sister companies will operate separately, but the ultimate intent is further elevating how all motorcyclists are served, online and off. It is an opportunity we have watched and evaluated since Cycle Gear was acquired by J.W. Childs in early 2015,” CEO Anthony Bucci wrote this blog post just published to the RevZilla website.
RevZilla was founded in 2007 when Bucci, Nick Auger and Matt Kull quit their various tech jobs once they realized that shopping for motorcycle parts and accessories online had serious room for improvement. Now the company is based in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and had $75 million in sales as of July 2015. (Bucci declined to comment on current revenue numbers.) Much of its success can be attributed to its enormous YouTube presence, which has attracted more than 182,000 subscribers.
RevZilla will remain headquartered in Philadelphia and likely hire additional people to its staff of more than 200. Bucci said the company is likely to add e-commerce, digital marketing and merchandising talent— as well as motorcycle experts to help with its YouTube videos.
“We are a Philadelphia company and we’re not going anywhere. If anything, we’ll expand our footprint and grow,” said Bucci in an interview Wednesday afternoon. “This is our hub. This is our rock. Our destination in the Navy Yard has been amazing for attracting talent.”
Armed with a larger warchest, RevZilla is examining the possibilities of creating its own private-label brand of motorcycle products and expanding into international markets.
“You could say we have been aggressive in attacking the opportunity and RevZilla’s success has certainly reflected that. We also have always tried to find the balance between full throttle growth and being responsible for the livelihoods of the now nearly 200 people on staff. It’s been sweepers and whoops for sure, especially being bootstrapped and self-funding it all. It’s also very surreal to think that we took our first order from our bombed-out Philly apartment where Nick’s room had a sheet for a door,” Bucci wrote in today’s blog. The company also released this FAQ to further expand on the new deal.
“RevZilla and Cycle Gear will continue to operate independently, as sister companies owned by myself, Matt, Nick and J.W. Childs,” Bucci wrote. “Regarding the internet’s concerns about carelessly smashing the companies together tomorrow — Stop. Exhale. We’re two brands and two companies. The dumbest thing we could do would be to screw up the things we’re already great at; the things that so many of you love. The era of big companies faking it at the consumers’ expense because of limited choices is long gone. We believe the internet and the abundance economy of limitless choice rewards brand meritocracy. Staying in the lead means continuing to earn it with you, just as we always have.”
In an interview in July 2015, I asked Bucci if he’d ever sell the company, and he told me that RevZilla has “been surprised and flattered by companies that have called us over the years” to make offers — but it turned them all down.
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