Jayco buying smaller competitor Open Range RV

The deal is a "dream come true," according to a company official.

Posted on Feb. 24, 2014 at 3:15 p.m.

MIDDLEBURY — Both companies can benefit from Jayco Corp.'s plans to buy Shipshewana-based Open Range RV, a Jayco spokesman said Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The much smaller Open Range RV, launched in 2007 and now employing 325 workers, has been growing sales by about 20 percent a year but could utilize Jayco's financial, engineering and technology resources as it looks to reach the next level, said Chuck Lasley, Jayco's vice president of corporate marketing.

At the same time, Open Range's success in the fifth-wheel segment of the RV market will allow Jayco to reach a new price-point, complementing Jayco's existing offerings.

"They're very lightweight and they have floor plans that are different from what we offer, so there are definitely things to be learned," Lasley said.

Jayco hopes to have the deal, in which Open Range would be a wholly-owned and separate Jayco subsidiary, finalized by the end of April. The companies chose Monday to announce they've signed a letter of intent to proceed with the deal to ease any worries among Open Range's employees and suppliers.

"Our intent was to try and waylay any rumors out there by saying, here's the company that we may be going into contract with... a well-established company that would help in their next level of growth," Lasley said. "It will minimize perhaps the number of people jumping ship. This, we thought, was necessary to ease and calm some fears."

"The two companies are a natural match," Open Range president Randy Graber, who will retain his job, said in a statement released by Jayco. "Culturally speaking, both Jayco and Open Range enjoy strong relationships with their dealer body recognizing the importance of maintaining a partnership-style association."




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