Posts Tagged ‘snowboards’

Rob Dyrdek Bids Against Self In AWS Pursuit, Vexes Merger Arbs

January 14, 2012

As skateboarding’s most-recognized dealmaker, Rob Dyrdek has built his career on the risk of embracing different kinds of risk. A Jackass for the CNBC set, Dyrdek is as comfortable negotiating his homeboys’ contract terms from beneath a Motel 6 hangover as he is nollie frontside nosesliding to fakie or cooly inhaling intoxicants from colorful balloons at a European rave event. Among those who invest their business expense money in gas station trinkets and accept automobiles as payment, Dyrdek’s business sense is high lore, which only added to the shock following his premature exaltation this week that he would take ownership of the hardgoods concern that has employed him since he was a tyke.

Dyrdek surely knows that dealmaking of any kind is a gamble, yet chose to break a cardinal rule of M&A and show his hand to his opponent — the snurfer lord Jake Burton — by announcing not only the advanced stages of their deal talks but vowing to keep the beloved Ohio memory-screener under his financial protection forevermore, implying that profits and losses are but a passing fancy on the wind that take a back seat to his emotional connection to the Alien Workshop. Which is understandable and even worthy of praise from fans such as this weblogging site that bore with some of the at-times questionable decisions re: team and otherwise over the past 10 years, but Dyrdek’s business sense oughtta be reptilian enough at this point not to let something like love enter the picture when you’re trying to bend your trading counterparty over the table.

The deal confuses me. Few details are out there, because maybe they have yet to all be determined. Let’s assume Dyrdek buys DNA Distribution in full from Burton. He gets AWS, Habitat, Reflex bearings, Habitat shoes. I would think Burton keeps Gravis’ IVSK8 effort. For one thing I wonder why Burton would sell after acquiring the AWS business just four years ago. Maybe Burton is looking to trim its balance sheet, as they’re rumored to also be trying to unload a surfboard company also. Decks and wheels are known not to be tremendous moneymakers and the t-shirts/hats/etc business seems as flooded as ever. What I don’t get is how Dyrdek would be able to run it more profitably as a standalone company, since you would assume that under the Burton umbrella AWS could get better deals on materials like shirts and pants and whatnot since Burton already buys a lot of that stuff for its own purposes. Maybe he has plans to integrate his Rogue Status thing there, or realign AWS with DC, by way of Habitat shoes. DC’s new advertising person would be interested in such a move no doubt.

The most likely scenario to me seems like Dyrdek becoming majority-owner with Burton keeping a stake, since that way maybe the two companies could maintain their ties in terms of volume discounts on raw goods, stocking DNA and perhaps other Dyrdek products in Burton stores, some skateboard-world cred for Burton, etc. Long-term I’m not sure whether such a deal’s a positive in terms of DNA, or at least Alien, maintaining the weird and “separate” vibe that made it seem to cut deeper and matter more than your typical deck and urethane purveyour. You’d like to think that Dyrdek the actual dude stands somewhat apart from the MTV and Street League character, and that he knows when to leave shit well enough alone. I think he trusts Carter/Hill/Castrucci.

Third Time’s The Charge

June 10, 2010

For a company that’s expanded/rejiggered its lineup as much as Habitat over the past few years, I’m not sure I get the rationale of a semi-backward-looking “greatest hits/b-sides” sort of video, as flagged in the new preview for the forthcoming “Origins.” Besides the new-blood parts there’s talk of this being a kinda reissued version of “Inhabitants” with some musical changes, I’m sure they’ve got other sound reasons, probably detailed someplace my eyes have yet to roam. And if the end result is a package along the lines of the Girl/Choc boxed set, replete with Danny Renaud and Rob Pluhowski footage, not exactly complaining or anything.

But if tracing a narrative is what Castrucci & co are concerned with on this project, what better way to tap into the reality-age’s obsession with rise-fall-redemption stories than to reclaim Brian Wenning from the wood paneled basement discard pile from which he broadcast those infamous youtube dispatches? He’s already signaled that his NJ door stands wide open to getting the “Photo” band back together, and whereas relaxed-fit denim doesn’t hold the sway it once did in the Coexist camp, the steady am additions and pro bump-ups suggests the Burton backers aren’t tripping about headcount that much. (And didn’t they let Guru Khalsa have some rap music for his going-pro clip)

We’ve pulled for Wenning before in this space and probably will do so again, really, there’s few touching that switch b/s tailslide bigspin even nowadays. Back to the next-gen Habitat issue, the bros are to be thumbs-upped for hanging onto the Getz/Gall/O’Connor trifecta all these years, and as much as the idea elsewhere has come off kind of like a back pasture for also-rans, maybe Habitat can take a crack at a sort of “Legends” squad, since they’re still doing the Intl team thing to my knowledge. Although at the rate I’m making up new companies for them they may as well have kept Seek going. I don’t know, I’m just trying to finance a few more switch heelflips out here.