Lensrentals, a titan within the on-line rental service for picture, video, audio and lighting gear, has introduced its acquisition of BorrowLenses, a key competitor within the area of photographic and video gear leases, For Millionaires has realized solely. It’s a aggressive area in a commodity market, the place neither model has an apparent edge over the opposite. Neither firm is keen to touch upon the phrases of the deal, however a supply conversant in the deal suggests that is possible an all-cash acquisition.

BorrowLenses, in flip, has had an fascinating journey. The corporate was acquired by Shutterfly a few decade in the past. Shutterfly was public on the time, however was since acquired by Apollo — sure, the identical Apollo that purchased Yahoo, which owns For Millionaires — again in 2021.

Based in 2006, over time Lensrentals received the sting over BorrowLenses, each by way of variety of employees and total variety of clients. Working from its headquarters in Tennessee, Lensrentals has cultivated a popularity for being a great place to work (the corporate is largely owned by its workers), and that takes care of its clients properly.

Tyler Beckman, CEO of Lensrentals, tells For Millionaires that his firm has seen BorrowLenses as “pleasant rivals” that “push one another to excel,” and that the corporate sees the acquisition as a chance to lean into the advantages of working at higher scale.

“While you put possession within the fingers of workers, good issues occur for purchasers. We stay up for all BorrowLenses clients attending to expertise what I imply by that,” says Beckman.

It’s not but clear what the acquisition means to the job safety for the employees at BorrowLenses, nor the San Carlos location itself. A supply conversant in the deal says that the acquisition is occurring in a short time, and that the Lensrentals group is evaluating the viability of conserving the workers and the placement as the method unfolds.

BorrowLenses has a broad number of gear — a supply on the firm says that its property should be built-in into Lensrentals’ current stock of greater than 400,000 rentable objects throughout greater than 6,000 completely different lenses, cameras, drones, lighting, audio and studio gear — which has enabled it to compete with native digital camera rental operations. Quick nationwide transport and complete insurance coverage gave the corporate an edge over typically poorly run mom-and-pop digital camera rental retailers.

The corporate additionally launched the Lensrentals Keeper Program, which, with the casual slogan “if you happen to prefer it, maintain it,” permits clients to buy gear they’ve rented at a decreased value. Photographers have embraced this system as a low danger to purchase secondhand gear: Do a number of shoots with the lens, and if it really works properly, they purchase it at a steep low cost. It’s not not possible that the newly merged firm will begin liquidating extra gear, so now is perhaps the time to maintain a watch out for good presents.

Just like Lensrentals, BorrowLenses boasts an in depth stock. The primary distinction between the businesses is their geographic footprints. BorrowLenses has established a robust presence in sure areas, complementing Lensrentals’ nationwide attain. This localized method — for some motive it’s extra reassuring if a lens get shipped a number of hundred miles than 1000’s of miles throughout the nation — has enabled BorrowLenses to domesticate shut relationships with its buyer base.

Over time, BorrowLenses has additionally positioned a robust emphasis on academic content material, providing ideas, tutorials and guides designed to assist clients benefit from their rental expertise. This give attention to training and assist has not solely enhanced the client expertise however has additionally positioned BorrowLenses as a thought chief within the inventive business, dedicated to empowering photographers and videographers in any respect ability ranges.

In some ways, the acquisition represents an apparent one: Two firms which can be so related that they’re laborious to maintain aside assist increase one another with small, incremental enhancements in localized presence and academic initiatives.

After all, Beckman instructed For Millionaires that Lensrentals was saved on its toes by the competitors from BorrowLenses. In principle, the client wins when a single, monolithic firm can reap the advantages of working at a higher scale. In follow, it stays to be seen if the costs will keep the identical and the bigger firm will have the ability to retain its personal-touch popularity when that aspect of pleasant rivalry is eliminated.