NAPPANEE — Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. has entered into an agreement to purchase Nappanee RV manufacturer Newmar Corp., the companies announced Monday. The purchase price is approximately $344 million.

“This is a very strategic acquisition for Winnebago, to strengthen our motorhome business, but also to strengthen the whole of our RV business as well,” Winnebago President/CEO Michael Happe said.

Happe said the company, for the most part, will remain the same for both the buyers and the employees.

“There is no negative news associated with this for the Newmar employees,” Happe said.

Matthew Miller, CEO of Newmar, and his leadership team will continue to run the business, Happe said. 

“We’re committed to making sure that Newmar remains a strong culture for the employees and that the Nappanee community as well is one that we invest in,” he said.

Founded by Marvin Newcomer and Marvin Miller in 1968, Newmar boasts 11 models of motorhome in the Class A Diesel, Class A Gas and Super C categories sold nationwide. They boast one of the best RV service centers anywhere located Nappanee.

The Miller family has owned the company since since 1984, when it was purchased by Mahlon Miller.

“My family is getting older and wanted to do other things,” Mahlon’s son Matthew said. “When we looked at the options available, it was obvious pretty quickly that Winnebago was a good fit culturally, the way they treat their customers, the quality of their product and everything they do. It’s important to us that they align well with us.”

When Miller decided to sell the company this year, he called Winnebago to see if it would be interested in an acquisition.

“Newmar was appealing for a lot of reasons,” Happe said. “Part of their business model is the great craftsmanship and beauty that they put into their products. The combination of Winnebago and Newmar can mean great things in the future for our company.”

Newmar is among major manufacturers in Elkhart County with more than 900 employees, according to the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County.  

The acquisition makes the third business in Indiana for the Forest City-based Winnebago. Both Grand Design RV and Winnebago Towables are owned by Winnebago Industries. Chris-Craft, located in Sarasota, Florida, is also owned by Winnebago Industries.

Following the acquisition, Newmar will operate as a distinct business unit within Winnebago Industries and retain its headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Nappanee.

“We’re trying to put together a really differentiated type of company in the RV business,” Happe said. “We’re an outdoor lifestyle company that’s mostly RVs today, but we have aspirations to do more than that.”

The transaction is expected to close during Winnebago’s first quarter of 2020. Newmar shareholders will own approximately 6 percent of Winnebago Industries shares outstanding.

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