An informal conversation on Zandvoort beach resulted in water sports and lifestyle brand Mistral inviting Marktlink manager and avid surfer Michiel Knubben for further discussions. In response to the question of where owner Ado Huisman’s ambitions lied, he appeared to be interested in selling the entire Mistral business. ‘It was beyond my wildest dreams to have the chance to manage the transaction with this iconic brand.’
Following wide-ranging market exploration and discussions with Dutch and foreign parties, Nederlands MerkGoed eventually emerged as the best candidate to acquire a 100% stake in Mistral. The investment firm is well-known for its passion for authentic Dutch brands, and envisages plenty of opportunities to lift Mistral to a higher level. ‘Anyone over the age of 30 is likely to recognise Mistral from windsurfing, mainly through windsurfing legend Robby Naish in the 80s and 90s. That sport has lost some of its popularity since then, which has impacted the water sports brand. But they’ve regained considerable ground over recent years thanks to the explosive popularity of new water sports such as stand-up paddleboarding,’ says Knubben when asked to summarise the brand’s market development.
GROWTH IN TURNOVER, RESULTS AND SUBSTANCE
While this clearly provided impetus for new growth ambitions, it was clear to Huisman, given his age, that he wasn’t the right person to implement these plans moving forwards. So the call from Knubben came at just the right time. ‘Ado told me that he’d already tried to sell his business a few years earlier. And Nederlands MerkGoed was in the picture back then too, but couldn’t thrash out a deal. Over the last two years, however, Mistral has experienced huge growth in terms of turnover, results and substance, so it’s a very different story now. It’s great that we’ve been able to regain Nederlands MerkGoed’s trust, and that the brand is being passed on to passionate people.’