This article on CNBC has the title, “GoPro has hired JP Morgan to put itself up for sale.”
Sigh. I suppose the good news is that, along with Quiksilver, Billabong, Skullcandy, Spy, Mervin Manufacturing and probably some I don’t remember, GoPro is a company that will be better positioned to succeed as a business that won’t be exposed to Wall Street expectations.
GoPro not only had to be cool (like every brand in the active outdoor space) but they tried to have better technology in a space where they didn’t own most of their own technology and were outgunned by the resources of their competitors.
They tried to tie their software to their cameras, and they entered, and have now left, the drone market. The article describes their condition and issues pretty well.
But who are GoPro’s potential customers? Not people who are satisfied with the camera on their phone. Not those who are just fine with a way cheaper version that does most of what a GoPro does. And, as was just pointed out to me at the Agenda show, not somebody who thinks the GoPro videos on the company web site are very cool (because they are) but then discovers, after videoing themselves, that they don’t look near that good.
GoPro always had to be a niche company that built around customers who were committed to creating and editing high end videos and who wanted to be part of a somewhat exclusive community that GoPro created and supported. That, I’ve always thought, was the only path to long term success for them. I’m not clear why a large player in their industry would find that niche attractive. But perhaps as a private company they can accomplish it.