Malibu Boats Creates a Wake in the Industry: Building Capabilities Through Acquisitions

Author: Brent S. Opall, PhD
Publisher: International Journal of Instructional Cases


IJIC, Volume 5 (2021)


Malibu Boats Inc, a leading global manufacturer of recreational boats, has diversified by following an aggressive acquisition strategy. Malibu has moved forward with a horizontal integration strategy in spite of the economic and manufacturing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The case provides an opportunity to help students explore diversification through acquisition and the role vertical integration can play in building competitive advantage. Topics include horizontal integration strategy, diversification strategy, acquisitions, frameworks to evaluate diversification, and vertical integration strategy. These topics are viewed in the context of economic uncertainty.


Diversification, Acquisition, Horizontal Scope, Horizontal Integration, Vertical Integration, Firm Performance

Target Audience and Usage

This case is designed for undergraduate students in a capstone strategy course in a department or college of business. Within the study of strategy, the case is well suited for use in upper-division management courses that cover mergers and acquisitions and/or strategy. The case has been tested in the author’s Strategic Management course, the senior-level capstone course in the college of business, in both online and face-to-face formats. It is recommended to be covered in conjunction with the study of diversification, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and/or vertical integration. It is best suited for use in the middle to end of the term.

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