President VJ Teenarsipur Discusses Watkins’ Acquisition of Sauna360
Can you share some insights into the timeline and planning for the acquisition of Sauna360 by Watkins Wellness? Teenarsipur: We have prided ourselves in playing the long game. Within the wellness space, saunas are the most attractive and closest wellness adjacency, so that category — and Sauna360 as a company — has been on our radar for a long time. I don’t know about an exact time frame, but I’ve been with Watkins for three years, and it certainly predates me. We view this as a marathon, not a sprint.
Watkins Wellness has a reputation for pursuing acquisitions with a long-term value approach. How does this acquisition fit into that strategy? Teenarsipur: We have a North Star or a vision that we go back to at every company forum or town hall we have, and we try to adhere to that. So even as we go through a bit of a [down] cycle here in the short term, we can keep our eyes on that long-term vision. Positioning ourselves as a global wellness company is a big part of that vision.
How do you envision the integration of Sauna360’s product portfolio and dealer network into Watkins Wellness? Teenarsipur: Our first priority is to maintain business continuity and keep servicing our customers. Secondly, we like the playbook that the Sauna360 team has been executing. We need to understand where we can add some value, but we want to do that without disrupting anything good that’s happening.
Even though both of us are fully committed to the dealer partner network, there are nuances in the strengths that we bring to the table, whether it’s around training, marketing, lead share, how we capture leads, web presence, etc.
Similarly, as we think about product, there are certainly some areas where we believe they have a lot of strength we could learn from, [as well as] areas where we have some strength where we could add to them from an innovation perspective.
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Could you provide more details about the acquisition, including the deal size and the scope of Sauna360’s operations? Teenarsipur: The agreement is valued at approximately €125 million [about $136 million]. Sauna360 has roughly 180 people based out of Finland, Sweden, North America and England. We acquired the entirety of the company.
How do you see Sauna360’s role in Watkins Wellness’ broader wellness vision? Teenarsipur: Four key points come to mind. First, it ties into the vision that we have at Watkins Wellness to participate in the growing global wellness market. Second, we are extremely optimistic about the long-term potential of the [sauna] category. Third, this was a perfect marriage. There’s a high level of excitement from our company, from our employees, from our customers, etc. Lastly, culture has always been very important to us. It starts with our own company but also the partnerships that we have with our dealer partners. We see Sauna360 as a great fit from a culture standpoint and a customer perspective.
What can dealers and consumers expect from this acquisition? Teenarsipur: We are committed to driving our dealer partner growth, and we are committed to strengthening the foundation of the relationships we have. That extends to any company or any brand that we own right now or in the future. We ensure critical business continuity. We ensure customer service. We build on the customer relationships. We can build on a solid foundation. That’s where we are.
What has the feedback for this acquisition been like thus far? Teenarsipur: The feedback across the board has been overwhelmingly positive. All of our Watkins teammates are tremendously excited because they see this as a solid step in furthering our vision, but our dealers are also seeing this as an opportunity to mutually benefit both our businesses and to utilize this expanded offering.