Blogs like mine can get quite excited by the comparison of competing brands of electronic device in the market place. But the recent news of Garmin’s bid to buy Raymarine prompted me to do some digging. It appears that over the past 4 years there has been a real consolidation of some very famous and popular brands into the hands of relatively few companies.
So what do B&G®, Eagle®, Lowrance, MX Marine, Navman, Northstar and Simrad® all have in common? Well I’ll tell you – its Navico – who? – that well known privately held Norwegian company…
About Navico (www.navico.com) Navico has 2,500 employees and has revenues of approx. $ 300M. Navico is headquartered in Lysaker, near Oslo in Norway. The company has development and manufacturing facilities in Tulsa USA, Ensenada Mexico, Egersund Norway, Støvring Denmark and Romsey UK.
Just take the Navman story for example…Navman started in the 1980s in a garage in Auckland, New Zealand, as a marine electronics provider. Then the US based marine company Brunswick purchased it in 2004.
In April 2006 Brunswick decided to sell its entire Brunswick New Technologies business in parts. Brunswick New Technologies, headquartered in Lake Forest, IL, is a leader in manufacturing and marketing recreational marine vehicle and navigation products, including Navman, Northstar, IDS, and MX Marine. Brunswick sells more than 1 million Navman-branded GPS products per year, taking a leading position in Europe.
The GPS busines was sold to MiTAC in 2007. Based in Taiwan, MiTAC sells GPS devices under the brand of Mio as well as making such products for other companies, including Brunswick. MiTAC has manufacturing operations in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, as well as assembly centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and Japan. Last year, MiTAC shipped 4.5 million GPS devices. Navico agrees to buy Brunswick New Technologies’ marine electronics business
In 2007 Navico International Ltd. agrees to acquire the rest of the Brunswick New Technologies’ marine electronics business ..
Well if pursuing economies of scale reduces choice, competition and innovation I wonder if that is really good for the consumer – even if it means lower price..