Equipment Maker Nautilus Considers Sale


Fitness equipment maker Nautilus is mulling a sale.

For context: Owner of brands like Bowflex and Schwinn, the company has been in business for more than 30 years.

More recently, with the rise of connected fitness, Nautilus set its sights on a tech-enabled makeover. Boosted by COVID restrictions, it posted record growth during the pandemic — but the lift didn’t last.

Reorienting. Underway for years, Nautilus made its transition from product-led hardware company to consumer-led digital company official in 2021, announcing its North Star strategy.

  • 2019: Debuted JRNY, a digital platform creating personalized workouts.
  • 2020: Sold its commercial brand Octane Fitness to focus on the at-home market.
  • 2021: Acquired VAY, a computer vision and motion technology company.

Despite its efforts, Nautilus saw sales decline 70% YoY in Q1’22 as losses mounted.

At the time, CEO Jim Barr remained bullish on home fitness, reaffirming plans to double direct-to-consumer sales by 2026.

Unwilling to wait, the Nautilus board elected to pursue strategic options, including a sale.

Takeaway: Hardly alone, Nautilus joins a growing list of equipment makers who bet that pandemic-era demand would last forever. As the pendulum swings, downsizingconsolidation, or worse remain likely possibilities.

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