Credit Source: Guns.com, by Jacki Billings
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The back of the Savage Arms display at the Vista Outdoor booth during the annual NRA-AM in Dallas on May 4, 2018. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)
Savage Arms will officially separate from parent company Vista Outdoor after the firearms maker was sold to a group of investors for $170 million, Vista Outdoor announced Monday.
The deal, $158 million paid at closing with $12 million paid at maturity of a five-year seller note, was led by an investment group headed by none other than Savage Arms CEO and president Al Kasper. Kasper said that though he’s thankful for Vista Outdoor’s support over the years, Savage Arms is looking forwardto a new solo journey.
“We want to thank Vista Outdoor for the support over the last six years. They invested in us and provided guidance in the transformation of the Savage brand, further developed our product portfolio allowing entry to new markets,” Kasper said in a news release. “Savage is an extremely strong brand and in a great position to keep charging forward. The momentum gained under Vista Outdoor will propel us for future success. It is business as usual and Savage is excited to continue building on existing relationships within the firearms industry.”
The deal was part of a transformation plan Vista outlined in May 2018 which would cut costs, pay down debt and divest a handful of brands from under the company’s wing. Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz said the company intends to place more emphasis on ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, hydration bottles and packs, outdoor cooking products and cycling/ski helmets and accessories moving forward.
“Divesting our Savage brand was a key aspect of our transformation plan,” Metz explained in a press release. “While it was a difficult decision to sell such an iconic brand, I remain confident that this was the correct choice to help Vista Outdoor grow in those categories where we can have leadership positions.”
Metz first hinted about his plans to reinvigorate Vista with a new plan of operation just weeks after taking over as CEO, telling investors then that “the company grew too fast and beyond its core” after it nabbed more than 50 brands in a three-year time period. Vista finalized a $158 million sale of eyewear companies Bollé, Serengeti and Cébé to a private equity firm in Europe in August 2018.
Though Savage Arms is officially out of the Vista umbrella, Metz said Vista is excited to see the firearms company continue to grow on its own.
“Savage is a fantastic business, and it deserves to continue to evolve into other firearms categories. At this time, however, we simply do not have the resources to transform Savage into the full-service firearms company that it deserves to be and, therefore, we determined the brand would be better off with a different owner. We’re excited to see Savage reach its full potential under new ownership,” Metz commented.
Vista said funds accrued from the sale of Savage Arms will go towards paying down debt Vista currently owes.