W.C. Bradley Acquires Dansons US LLC
Over the summer, two big players in the grilling and barbecue industries came together as W.C. Bradley officially acquired Dansons US LLC in June. While you’ve likely never purchased a W.C. Bradley gas grill or a Dansons pellet grill, you’ve seen their subsidiaries’ grills before. So let’s dig into these two companies and what the…
Over the summer, two big players in the grilling and barbecue industries came together as W.C. Bradley officially acquired Dansons US LLC in June. While you’ve likely never purchased a W.C. Bradley gas grill or a Dansons pellet grill, you’ve seen their subsidiaries’ grills before. So let’s dig into these two companies and what the acquisition could mean for backyard grillers and pitmasters.
W.C. Bradley Overview
The W.C. Bradley Company is based out of Columbus, GA, and owns companies across multiple industries. One of its four core companies is Char-Broil, the well-known gas grill maker. Char-Broil also purchased Oklahoma Joe in 1998 which makes mostly offset smokers as well as charcoal grills, drum smokers, and the Rider series of pellet grills.
Dansons US LLC Overview
Dansons is the parent company of Louisiana Grills and Pit Boss Grills based out of Arizona. One interesting note about Dansons is that they employed the founder of Traeger, Joe Traeger, as an independent contractor after he and his family sold Traeger. It led to quite a bit of legal wrangling between the two companies but eventually, all that was settled.
Louisiana Grills manufactures pellet grills that are more towards the high-end side of the industry. Pit Boss has quality pellet grills that are fit for just about any family looking to start smoking barbecue and are widely available in big box stores.
Why Would W.C. Bradley Purchase Dansons?
W.C. Bradley has a great lineup of gas grills and offset smokers. They’ve gotten into the pellet grill market a bit with Oklahoma Joe’s Rider series, but it’s not the most well-known nor is it the first name that you think of when you think about pellet grills. That might be a bit of a shame considering some of the features including multi-level temperature monitoring to ensure you know the actual temperature around the food on the higher warming racks. The pellet grills even have a sear mode akin to Camp Chef’s on the SG series and original Woodwinds.
So to get into the pellet grill industry even more, it makes sense for W.C. Bradley to acquire Dansons. Pit Boss pellet grills can be found online and in major retailers like Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot which means this could open the door to better retailers that W.C. Bradley didn’t have with the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider series.
The acquisition is also part of an overall larger focus on expanding in the outdoor industry. W.C. Bradley CEO James Hillenbrand spoke with the Ledger-Enquirer about the strategy that involved promoting former Char-Broil president Mark Werner “into a newly created business development position with the objective of identifying acquisitions and other growth opportunities consistent with our strategy to become a more meaningful player in the outdoor living category.”
That sets the table for why W.C. Bradley would want to make the move. What about the other side?
Why Would Dansons Want To Be Acquired?
As of early October, there hasn’t been any public acknowledgment from Dansons about the sale that I was able to find. There also haven’t been any financial figures for the sale that I’ve found. So it’s purely speculative about why they would be interested in being acquired.
So it could be that W.C. Bradley simply made them an offer. Or it could be that Dansons has been hit with the same supply and demand issues that a number of other companies have been dealing with in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. I mean, Weber had to go private at the end of 2022 to essentially survive after going public in 2021.
We won’t know for certain the motivation for Dansons until someone decides to publicly share it, but it inevitably comes back to finances in one way or another.
What Does This Mean For The Future?
For customers, we may not see much in the way of changes in the short term. W.C. Bradley wanted to expand their footprint in the outdoor living industry so they’ll likely want to honor Pit Boss’ commitments to the big retail stores. You can find Oklahoma Joe’s smokers in some of those very stores, but Pit Boss has exclusive deals for specialty versions of their pellet grills with individual companies.
Might we see some of the features from Pit Boss cross over to the Rider series of pellet grills and vice versa? Only time will tell. It might simply be each brand continues to operate and innovate independently with just a bit bigger backing.
All that we know for sure is that W.C. Bradley is angling to become an even bigger player in the outdoor living industry and now has its fingers in a lot more of the different niches.
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