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Anoka company sells its firearms brands for $170 million

Vista Outdoors says it's part of its strategy to cut costs and reduce debt.
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Anoka-based Vista Outdoor Inc. has announced it is selling its two firearms brands for $170 million to a financial buyer.

The company says its Savage Arms and Stevens firearms brands will be sold in the deal, of which $158 million will be paid at closing and the remaining $12 million paid upon maturity of a 5-year seller note.

It comes amid a wider transformation of Vista Outdoor's business, which is aimed at cutting costs, paying down debt, divesting from certain brands, and consolidating leadership.

This, it said in a news release, will allow it to "pursue growth in product categories where the company believes it can be market leaders."

The product categories it will focus on includes ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, hydration bottles and packs, outdoor cooking products, and cycling/ski helmets and accessories, the company said.

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

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Vista acquired Savage in 2013 by Vista's predecessor Alliant Techsystems (ATK), before ATK's sporting business, which included several hunting and shooting brands, spun off in 2015 to become Vista Outdoor.

The Star Tribune notes that Vista had $2.1 billion in revenue in the year ending March 31, down 11 percent from 2018.

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