Vista Outdoor Announces Sale of Savage Arms

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posted on July 8, 2019
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Vista Outdoor Inc. announced today that it has completed the sale of the legal entity operating its Savage Arms and Stevens firearms brands to a financial buyer for a total purchase price of $170 million, comprised of $158 million paid at closing and $12 million to be paid upon maturity of a five-year seller note issued by the buyer to Vista Outdoor in connection with the transaction.

Details released to date were available through a press release issued on the company’s website:

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."

Savage was acquired by Vista Outdoor's predecessor, ATK, in 2013. ATK's sporting business—which included Savage, Bushnell, Federal and CCI Ammunition, and dozens of other hunt/shoot accessories brands, spun off in 2015 to become Vista Outdoor. 

"The Savage acquisition helped create Vista Outdoor, and we're grateful for all the success the brand brought to our company over the past six years," said Metz. "However, this divestiture now gives our ammunition brands flexibility to work with any industry partner to create the best products and meet our consumers' needs."

At closing, Vista Outdoor received gross proceeds from the divestiture of $158 million. Vista Outdoor will use the net after-tax proceeds of the sale to repay outstanding indebtedness.

"Reducing our debt is a key part of turning around our business," said Metz. "Selling Savage and further reducing our overall leverage will improve our financial flexibility and better position the company for long-term growth. We've now rebuilt the company's foundation to provide a more stable base upon which to grow. We have a portfolio of brands that all have the potential to be strong, market leaders in their respective categories and I'm proud of my team's efforts in reshaping the portfolio over the course of the past year."

Robert W. Baird & Co. served as transaction and financial advisor and Reed Smith LLP served as legal advisor to Vista Outdoor in connection with the transaction.

Additional Reading:
SHOT Show Conversation with Vista's Chris Metz  
The Keefe Report—Vista's Strategic Transformation Plan: Remain Calm 

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