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February 11, 2016

Philadelphia's RevZilla, Cycle Gear join forces under new holding company

Local motorcycle gear retailer, expert in e-commerce, will remain an independent brand under agreement with national chain

Business Motorcycles
020616_AnthonyBucciRevzilla Contributed Art/YouTube

Anthony Bucci, CEO of Revzilla.

After a week of feverish speculation over a rumored acquisition of Philadelphia-based motorcycle gear retailer RevZilla, the company announced Thursday it has completed an agreement to form a new holding company that will own both RevZilla and Cycle Gear, the national chain that had reportedly been pursuing a multimillion-dollar acquisition.

In a letter posted on RevZilla's website, CEO Anthony Bucci explained that the two companies will continue to operate separately under a jointly owned holding company.

"RevZilla could easily follow the double yellows and be successful doing what we’ve always done, but we like new challenges, placing big bets and playing to win," Bucci wrote. "We also like to think that we understand the next generation of commerce and have the vision to shape what we believe the future should be. It’s in our DNA as entrepreneurs."

According to Bucci, the partnership between the two companies is intended to leverage the strengths and capital of each. RevZilla, launched in 2007, established itself as an industry leader in e-commerce and online marketing through its popular YouTube channel, which has picked up more than 182,000 followers. Cycle Gear, acquired last year by private equity firm J.W. Childs, has more than 134 stores in 34 states.

As part of the new venture, Cycle Gear will gain access to RevZilla's online platforms and technology expertise, the latter will develop private label products and eventually delve into offline retail.

Bucci told the Philadelphia Business Journal that discussions with Cycle Gear about an acquisition of RevZilla never occurred as reported. Instead, the companies were exploring a joint venture for the past several months. Under the agreement, Bucci and RevZilla COO Matt Kull will join Cycle Gear executive chairman Joseph Fortunato to lead the new board.

With more than 200 employees on staff at its Navy Yard offices in South Philadelphia, RevZilla will continue to operate under the same brand, ethos and commitment to its devoted online community.

"RevZilla’s mission will remain to advance the experience of the motorcycle enthusiast through community, content and commerce," Bucci wrote. "Our job is still to find your pain and alleviate it."

To learn more about the new agreement and clear up any misunderstanding about the initial reports, RevZilla has provided an FAQ that covers the basics of the new deal.

As for the rumored $500 million acquisition, RevZilla had this to say:

"We want whatever the media was smoking when they reported that ... and a set of gold fronts."