In six short weeks, PlayCore, the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based provider of play and recreation products, has purchased three companies.
Among the acquisitions was one in the aquatics industry. Knorr Systems, provider of a wide range of products that includes the FlowRider wave generation system, now takes its place under the PlayCore umbrella. The sale ocurred the first week of October.
“We felt Knorr was a leader in what they did in the region that they did it. So we felt there were a lot of synergies and they would make a good addition to our aquatic group,” said PlayCore’s senior vice president and group manager, Anita Sayed.
Founded in 1977, Knorr is known for its work bringing chemical automation into the commercial pool market. The Santa Ana, Calif., company now also sells chemical control and delivery systems, circulation-system and water-treatment equipment, chemicals, and accessories. It provides distribution, service, training and daily operations to aquatic facilities in the areas it serves. This new purchase means PlayCore now will have service trucks operating in California, Nevada and Texas, Sayed said.
In its approach to acquisitions, PlayCore generally leaves brands, facilities and staff intact, Sayed reported. “Our intentions are to buy companies that are successful and let them manage themselves the way they’ve done in the past, because they’ve done it successfully,” Sayed added. “So there is quite a bit of autonomy within each company that we acquire … It looks like the same company, but it has the benefits of a larger organization in a lot of different aspects.”
The same will apply to Knorr: Things will remain business as usual, with its facilities in Santa Ana; Livermore, Calif.; and Addison, Texas, to remain, she added. Former Knorr President Rich Robert will serve as general manager over the operation he has headed for 17 years.
In early October, Playcore also acquired Porter Corporation, a Holland, Mich.-based producer of architectural structures. At the end of August, it purchased Freenotes Harmony, maker of outdoor musical instruments.
This is PlayCore’s fourth aquatics acquisition in six years. It entered the category in 2010 with the purchase of Spectrum Aquatics, the Missoula, Mont.-based manufacturer of a broad range of aquatic products, including pool lifts. Colorado Time Systems, maker of competitive timing systems, scoreboards and related products, based in the Loveland, Colo., was brought into the fold in 2012. In 2014, PlayCore acquired Water Odyssey by Fountain People, based in San Marcos, Texas.