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A New Chapter for Defender

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Over more than eight decades, family-owned Defender Industries earned the trust of mariners through reliable customer service, a broad selection of boating gear and competitive pricing. Now, the Waterford, Connnecticut-based company is poised to begin its next chapter in the boating business.

FortNine, a Canadian company that sells motorbikes, dirt bikes, ATVs and snowmobiles through an e-commerce platform, yesterday announced that it acquired Defender Industries in partnership with the private equity firm Novacap.

Defender was founded in 1938 by Sheldon Lance with a mission to make boating accessible to more people by offering quality equipment at better prices. Today, under the leadership of Stephan Lance, Defender has grown to become the largest independent marine supply firm in the U.S., with 85,000 products from major marine manufacturers. Defender is also the largest single-location dealer of inflatable boats in North America.

FortNine and Defender each serve sports enthusiasts. “We both have a very loyal customer base who trust our knowledge and experience to outfit them with the equipment they need,” said FortNine President Amin Sawaf in a statement. “It is truly a privilege to acquire a company with such a stellar reputation and we look forward to bringing our unique go-to-market expertise to the marine industry.”

“In FortNine, we believe we have found the perfect match in shared values,” said Defender President Stephen Lance in a statement. “We are a marine outfitter staffed by passionate boaters, and those people enable us to deliver great customer service. We are proud to unite with FortNine's team of enthusiasts to drive Defender into its next stage of expansion.”

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