Skate-Shoe Titan Grows Mightier

Shoes, clothing, snowboard boots, the Warped Tour, a record label, and now the Pro-Tec safety-gear brand.

That’s right, Vans Inc.’s most recent acquisition is Mosa Extreme Sports, under which lies skateboard safety-gear brand Pro-Tec–further establishing Vans as a rather well-rounded and broad-based skateboard-lifestyle brand company.

Considering the broad range of skateboard-related brands under the Vans umbrella, one might assume it’s just a matter of time before the youth-conglomerate launches or acquires a skateboard-hardgoods brand. However, the company’s PR Manager Chris Overholser admits the company has no current plan to further expand its line into hardgoods. “Right now, we don’t necessarily have any firm plans,” he says. “We’re always having conversations with other companies about ways that we can work together in different arrangements and in complementary ways.”

Based in Hermosa Beach, California, Mosa offers a full line of safety helmets and pads under the Pro-Tec brand. Mosa will maintain its existing office and headquarters–recognizing the company as more of a subsidiary of Vans, rather than as part of the Vans corporate infrastructure, explains Jay Wilson, vice president of global marketing at Vans.

Although Vans doesn’t currently have a skateboard-hardgoods brand, Wilson says they aren’t ruling out the possibility. “We don’t have any set rules on that–that we will or won’t buy one,” he says. “We’ve looked at opportunities.

“If you look at my business model, we’re not interested in owning skateboarding. Our skateparks and stores sell a lot of softgoods and hardgoods. We’re not looking at going into competition with them (hardgoods brands) right now. With Pro-Tec, it came up and we were interested in it.”

Wilson says Vans has no plans to change or expand the Pro-Tec brand. “We’re looking at the Pro-Tec brand as equity–there’s a lot of equity in the brand, and we don’t want to change that,” he says. “We’re looking at it more from distribution channels, and how we can enhance it by offering them (Pro-Tec) better distribution, particularly internationally.”

Vans Inc. made the announcement on April 16. According to the company’s press release, the cash and stock transaction is valued at approximately fifteen-million dollars.

The reputable Pro-Tec brand was founded in 1973 and has been popular among skateboarders since the late 70s. “Recognized as one of the original skateboard helmet brands, Pro-Tec possesses great authenticity, and like Vans, it has successfully leveraged its brand across multiple ‘core sports as the leader among skateboard, BMX, wakeboard, and snowboard enthusiasts,” says Gary H. Schoenfeld, Vans president and chief executive officer. “(Strategically) this acquisition allows us to further extend our leadership position in the market and leverage our infrastructure with limited risk or distraction to our core footwear, retail, and apparel business.”

The Pro-Tec skate team includes Bob Burnquist, Steve Caballero, Andy Macdonald, Brian Patch, and Bucky Lasek. For more information, check out vans.com.