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GoPro's Nick Woodman confirms he's 'open' to selling

From Engadget - January 10, 2018

At CES, GoPro founder and CEO, Nick Woodman, took to the Engadget stage to dismiss the rumor that it was seeking a buyer, but he also confirmed they are open to offers. Woodman even alluded to which companies he might be most interested in working with. (Hint: Social networks.)

To someone who's followed GoPro closely for the last few years, the most interesting aspect was Woodman's change of language. Previously, any talk of GoPro being bought out (which has been going on for years) has been quickly dismissed. During my interview with him on stage at CES, he made several references to being "open" to opportunities and spelled out why his company would be a good get.

First we need to understand why GoPro might want to sell. The closure of the Karma project obviously shows that it was an expensive experiment that was not helping the bottom line. On top of that, recent financial information showed that even GoPro's cameras were not selling as well as the company had hoped. Specifically the Hero 5, which was still on sale for the same price it was a year ago (despite being replaced by a new flagship).

To rectify that, GoPro cut the price of the Hero 5 and the Hero 6 by $100, which Woodman claims has reinvigorated sales. He also hinted at the first new product of 2018. "We have a new product coming out in the first half of the year that's going to be really exciting for our entry-level customers."

One of Woodman's favorite mantras has always been that, at GoPro, they are the user, so they make products for themselves. "I am sitting up here on stage saying that's no longer the case. And it's a good thing." Woodman's referring to a change of strategy where they acknowledge the need to build products specifically that their customers want.

So, a new focus and a leaner team might lead to profitability. But there's still that pesky rumor of a buyout. "At the heart, I am an entrepreneur that wants to see GoPro succeed ... I would be thrilled if the easiest, most efficient way to achieve that was through the sale of the company to a bigger business that could really help GoPro shine." Woodman said.

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