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Savage Arms and Stevens Firearms Brand Sold!

Savage Firearms Logo

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.

Vista Outdoor Brands
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.

Savage MSR15 Recon 2.0
Savage MSR15 Recon 2.0 one of the few AR variations sold by Savage Firearms.

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.

"Divesting our Savage brand was a key aspect of our transformation plan," said Chris Metz, Chief Executive Officer of Vista Outdoor. "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. 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."

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.

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