I would say a current company upgrading, putting out that kind of dough you would have to have business in the pipeline. They probably have less overhead or cash surplus or make more than just the inflatable portion. Not training someone is worth a lot of money if they can go right to work.
This is reminiscent of a Tech/Hardware company I worked at. One of the new up and comers had been head hunting and actually poached 3 of our lead guys out on the same day. They had been in secret negotiations the whole time . It essentially crippled our operation and skyrocketed the other company, luckily I had another venture going at the time.
I could only imagine some of Sotar's lead people all being yanked at one time, It would blind side them and essentially cut the beast off at the knees in the middle of spring production. It would probably be an unrecoverable blow. If all the talent and skilled labor went down the road I highly doubt any of the founders or office people are even polished at working on the floor anymore. All of their product development would essentially change hands in one day. They may have people selling designs and patterns and info right now. You just never know.
Bad thing about having a big head and being on top it gives the small guys with less overhead lots of time to figure out how to knock the wind out of you.
From past life experience I would say someone is making a very strategic power play