A few people were disappointed that I didn't architect an April Fools joke this year. Last year, I, Carlton Reid, Arleigh Jenkins and Tim Grahl created the April Fools Joke heard 'round the world (literally! - Morgan Hill got hundreds of phone calls from concerned dealers and suppliers in response to this "news", and more than a few news outlets and bloggers fell for it hook, line and sinker) in 2008. It all seems strangely prescient in light of today's headlines.
Car giant takes stake in bicycle industry, acquiring Specialized Bicycles
General Motors has announced the acquisition of Specialized Bicycle Components. The boards of directors of both companies approved the acquisition on Friday. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2008 pending regulatory approval in the US, Canada and Europe. Terms of the all-share acquisition from Specialized Founder and President Mike Sinyard and Merida of Taiwan were not disclosed.
The deal does not include GM acquiring any of the 19 Specialized Concept Stores, a retail formula launched in 2006. All Specialized Concept Stores are independently owned.
"In light of global concerns about climate change, GM has been at the forefront in developing new transportation choices that limit our impact on the environment," said Flora Lopi, GM's vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy. "GM's engineering, marketing and distribution expertise combined with Specialized's branding among cycling enthusiasts make this a winning combination for GM investors and consumers."
Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard said, "All of us here at Specialized are thrilled to be a part of GM. While Specialized remains committed to independent bicycle dealers, our products will also now be available across the nation in GM dealerships. Specialized will never be available through mass merchants. The acquisition by GM will enhance the service to the specialty retail channel, increase investments in dedicated merchandising programs, introduce sales efforts in mainstream outlets, support advocacy and the activity of cycling, invest and expand in Europe and, most important, bolster an already strong research and development budget."
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said, "We're starting our second century at a time of fundamental change in the way we address our transportation needs. In addition to our leadership role in developing the next generation of more sustainable technologies in hybrid and alternative fuel engines, we'll leverage the unique synergies of the bicycle community to introduce some of our ideas for addressing critical issues concerning energy, the environment and globalization."
Sinyard is contracted to stay on through until the end of March 2009. Robert Kruse, currently executive director of Vehicle Integration, Safety, Regional Chief Engineers and Performance Division for GM's North America engineering staff will work alongside Sinyard. No other management changes have been announced. Kruse is an enthusiastic road cyclist, having three times ridden RAGBRAI, the annual bike ride across Iowa.
General Motors Corp is the world's largest automaker. Founded in 1908, GM has 274,000 employees worldwide. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling.
Specialized Bicycles, founded by Mike Sinyard in Morgan Hill, CA, in 1974, designs and manufactures a complete line of high-performance bicycles and components, including the first production mountain bike, which now resides in the Smithsonian Institute, and its Body Geometry line of medically proven cycling accessories. Specialized is a company of devout cyclists whose goal is to create cutting edge, functional and technically advanced products that provide a performance benefit for the enthusiast cyclist.