Savage Arms and Stevens Firearms Brand Sold!
On July 8, Vista Outdoor Inc. announced the sale of Savage Arms and Stevens Firearms brands. An investor group led by the CEO and President of Savage, Al Kasper, purchased the brands for $170 million.
ATK, the predecessor to Vista Outdoor, acquired Savage in 2013. Vista Outdoor formed in 2015 from the outdoor brands that separated off from ATK. Firearm-related brands like Bushnell, Federal ammunition, CCI, Speer, Blazer, Night Optics, and BLACKHAWK will stay with Vista Outdoor brands.
This move does not come as a surprise to many. In March of 2018, major retailer REI split from Vista Outdoor after the company failed to issue a statement about the Parkland shooting. Vista’s portfolio, which includes Savage Firearms, also includes brands such as Camelbak, Bell, BStinger, and Giro that REI also carries. The outdoor co-op REI does not sell firearms but “..decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.” REI added, “It is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common-sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida.”
Savage’s AR variants make up a small part of their portfolio. However, investment management company BlackRock, the second-largest shareholder in Vista, also issued a statement about the Parkland shooting. So overnight, Savage became a liability to Vista Outdoor and no longer an asset.
The sale is part of Vista Outdoor’s previously announced transformation plan, which outlined the intent to reshape the company’s portfolio by cutting costs, consolidating leadership, paying down debt, and divesting certain brands, including both its eyewear brands and firearms brands, in order to pursue growth in product categories where the company believes it can be market leaders. As the company now looks forward, the focus is on ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, hydration bottles and packs, outdoor cooking products, and cycling/ski helmets and accessories.
This move could help both Savage and the ammunition and optic brands that Vista sill holds. By not having to partner with only Vista brands in marketing, the brands can cross-promote within the industry. Chris Metz, Chief Executive Officer of Vista Outdoor said as much “..this divestiture now gives our ammunition brands flexibility to work with any industry partner to create the best products and meet our consumers’ needs.”
Savage recently celebrated its 125th year of operation this year.
Jeremy Mallette is co-founder of International Sportsman, and an avid hunter and outdoorsman. His father taught him to shoot at age six, and he received his first firearm at age eight — a 1942 Colt Commando .38 special revolver. Jeremy enjoys collecting unique firearms, and shooting them.