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March 30, 2000
On March 29, 2000 at approximately 2:30 pm, Pacific Standard Time, the publicly traded Corporation, Brass Eagle (XTRM) located in Bentonville Arkansas signed agreements to acquire JT USA, LP of Chula Vista, California. Following SEC guidelines for acquisitions by publicly held corporations, the purchase is set to happen 90 days from March 30, 2000.
On March 15th, 2000 JT USA celebrated its 30th anniversary. Since its inception it has been wholly owned by husband and wife team, John and Rita Gregory. The acquisition outlines a purchase of JT’s main assets for a soon to be disclosed cash purchase price. Both companies expect to benefit greatly from the purchase. For Brass Eagle, the addition and direct access to the JT product line means high quality head and face protection for their customers.
JT USA originated in, and still sells to the moto-cross market despite their focus on paintball that has grown with the sport. As a publicly held company, the addition of a solid product line that covers multiple markets is expected to increase investor confidence. JT USA also represents the possibility for Brass Eagle to expand to extreme sports markets outside of paintball. While such diversification was always an area of interest for JT USA in the past, funding new market directions was difficult. The new expanded financial resources at the company's disposal will allow growth as an extreme sports lifestyle brand name.
It can be argued that JT has one of the best marketing programs in Paintball and a product line that is known for living up to or exceeding marketing hype. Brass Eagle recognizes and does not intend to change the brand. JT USA will be operated as a separate division from Brass Eagle, to prevent dilution of the premium line product name. Brass Eagle has committed to maintaining JT’s Chula Vista manufacturing and development facilities for the next 20 years. JT USA President John Gregory has signed a 5 year agreement to stay on board as a consultant guiding JT as it continues to operate as a division of Brass Eagle. Teams and event promoters will be happy to know that the acquisition will not affect JT sponsorships. All sponsorship contracts will continue to be honored.
“When we started JT our goal was to truly provide protection and safety to our best effort, and make sure our products lived up to their claims”, said JT Executive Vice President Rita Gregory in an exclusive WARPIG.com interview. “This acquisition is simply opening doors for JT to grow in ways we could not have done before.” She went on to describe the day of the announcement as filled with emotion. Many of the employees at JT USA had been with the company ten or twenty years or more, giving the company a feeling of family. According to Gregory, great lengths were made in negotiation to ensure that what they have built over the years will be enhanced by the acquisition, rather than degraded.
Many players were concerned after Viewloader changed hands and was absorbed into Brass Eagle’s Arkansas facilities. Keeping this in mind, it was imperative to JT USA that when they outlined the agreement they made sure that JT’s facilities would remain separate and under their own name to prevent the same from happening. “Our business will run as usual, with the exception that we have a greater potential for future growth” said Gregory.
The week prior to the acquisition agreement, the WARPIG staff had the opportunity to look over some of the new consumer market packaging at JT’s Southern California headquarters. The new packaging will appearing on mass merchant shelves carrying one of JT’s two new goggle systems, the Alpha and the nVADER. The Alpha is planned for mass merchants, while the nVADER targets the recreational player with its unique organic styling. Both of the new goggles provide full-face protection with even greater coverage than the X-Fire mask, with a lower price tag while still providing the solid protection for which JT is known. The nVADER’s removable vent pods can be exchanged for pods of different colors allowing the masks to differentiate one rental team from another. In a behind closed doors tour, it became evident that there are enough products near completion in development right now to continue to provide players with new innovations through the next two years.
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