Viking Ranges Purchased by Middleby

What is Viking's Future?

The purchase of the Viking Range Corp. by the Middleby Corporation was announced on 12/31/2012. While there were clearly some tax reasons for this New Years Eve deal, the much bigger question for the industry is what this means for the future of the brand and its customers.

Elgin, Illinois based Middleby is a commercial cooking equipment manufacturer supplying companies such as Subway, Papa John's, and Starbucks with high speed cookers and pizza ovens. While Middleby CEO, Selim Bassoul, has built a solid record of growth in the commercial and restaurant arena, Middleby's timid forays into the consumer side of the business with Jade Ranges and Turbo-Chef's speed oven have been less than stellar. That makes the Big Gulp $380 million dollar purchase of the struggling Viking a chancy move indeed.

Bassoul wants to introduce the impressive technology that has been at the forefront of Middleby's success in the past decade into the consumer market via Viking. It sounds like a winning formula. What new products will Bassoul bring to Viking first? He's talking up a toaster that will pop out a hot golden brown toasted slice of bread in 30 seconds. It's probably going to take more than speed toast to right the Viking ship, but it looks like things are already beginning to heat up at Viking. The ink is barely dry on the Viking deal, and founder Fred Carl has departed along with 140 employees at Viking's Greenwood, Miss. headquarters.


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3 Responses to Viking Ranges Purchased by Middleby

  1. Amir Girgis says:

    This purchase/takeover is being carefully watched and scrutinized. I know in the US, retailers and distributors will be looking for improvements with the brand before new product releases. Viking was the brand that helped create the high-end appliance category. Their ranges were a must-have, but with the introduction of refrigeration, grills, small appliances, cookware, knives and cooking schools, I think the brand grew too quickly and wasn’t able to properly design/build products. Service issues were too common with the brand and this is what Middleby has to fix if it will succeed with Viking.

    Now….bring in Canada with another name change and you can easily see the challenges ahead.

  2. Least we forget Viking was the founder of the modern professional range and changed an entire market. Bravo to Fred Carl for a great company. Florence Perchuk,CKD,CAPS

  3. Art Johnson says:

    Thanks Florence,
    You’re absolutely correct. Fred Carl created the professional range category as we know it. Brilliant marketing and execution, recent problems and issues notwithstanding. AND it’s still a powerful brand name. Let’s see what the future holds.

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