Savage Arms, Stevens Sold for $170 Million by Vista Outdoor

Vista Outdoor has sold Savage Arms and Stevens firearms for $170 million, shedding itself of two well known brands. Vista said part of the gross proceeds of $158 million from the sale will be used to reduce debt.

Savage Arms, Stevens Sold for $170 Million by Vista Outdoor

The Savage MSR 15 Recon is one of the company's entries in the modern sporting rifle category.

As part of its transformation plan that includes divesting certain brands, Vista Outdoor has sold Savage Arms and Stevens firearms for $170 million.

The buyer was not disclosed in the July 8 announcement from Vista Outdoor. 

Savage Arms, a well known brand founded 125 years ago, was purchased in 2013 by Vista's predecessor, ATK Corporation. Stevens is known for its tough and affordable shotguns. ATK's outdoors brands that also include Federal Premium, CCI Ammunition, Bushnell and others, were housed under a spinoff — Vista Outdoor — in 2015.

"Divesting our Savage brand was a key aspect of our transformation plan," said Chris Metz, Chief Executive Officer of Vista Outdoor, in a press release. "While it was a difficult decision to sell such an iconic brand, I remain confident 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."

More information from the press release:

Vista Outdoor Inc. is a publicly traded company (NYSE: VSTO). It said the sale price includes $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.

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.

"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," Metz said. "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."


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