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We just got wind that 3M, already one of the largest players in the fly fishing market through its Scientific Anglers brand, has acquired Ross Reels. We had heard rumblings that something of this order was up with Ross for several months, but did not know the suitor until today.


Seems like a solid match. As most of you know, 3M is an innovation-focused company. So too is Ross. In fact, its newest F1 reel model is so-named because it employs technologies actually used in Formula 1 racing cars. (We will review this reel on when we actually test one; availability is December 1.) While 3M has its own reels, I suspect this only opens manufacturing options for both brands to cover a wide range of pricepoints. I also suspect the move will give Ross more marketing muscle.

Here is the press release:

_ST. PAUL, Minn. – September 30, 2010 – 3M announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ross Reels, a Colorado-based manufacturer of fly fishing equipment and accessories. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Ross Reels is recognized as one of the top fly reel manufacturers in the United States. Its full line of products includes high quality fly rods, complete fly fishing outfits, reel outfits, rod cases, fishing pliers and other outdoor related products. 3M, through its Scientific Anglers brand, offers a wide variety of products and equipment for all fly fishing experiences, including fly lines, reels, rods, boxes and instructional DVDs.

“The addition of Ross Reels builds on 3M’s core fly fishing portfolio and further expands the business,” said Gabi Sabongi, vice president, New Business Ventures, 3M Consumer and Office Business. “The combination of the well-recognized Ross Reels brand products with3M’s Scientific Anglers branded fly fishing lines, reels, rods and accessories will allow 3M to better serve consumers and retailers in North America.”

3M’s angling scientists and design team work in partnership with fly-fishing legends to develop cutting-edge technologies and ultimate fly line designs to modernize the sport. Throughout its 60 year history in this market, 3M has been inventing premier fly fishing products–from the contemporary floating fly line more than 50 years ago to the specialty core construction and patented Sharkskin technologies.

Ross Reels employs approximately 25 people at its operations in Montrose, Colorado. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter._