Savage Arms is a well-known name in firearms. It’s been around for years, and now the brand is for sale. Owner Vista Outdoor announced its intention to sell the company earlier this year.
But the question is, who is going to buy?
“Smith & Wesson would be a good fit for them because, you know, they don’t have much in the way of long arms,” Rich Duprey, a market analyst and writer for Motley Fool, told Guns.com Thursday. “Of course, Ruger also should be considered. They’re looking to make acquisitions and they have a rifle division already, so they’d be well positioned to take on Savage.”
American Outdoor Brands, Smith & Wesson’s parent company, didn’t respond to requests for comment from Guns.com about its interest in Savage. Spokespersons for both Ruger and Vista likewise declined interviews, citing regulations for publicly-traded companies.
Duprey said no matter who buys Savage — even a smaller, privately-held company — selling off its firearm brand likely won’t serve Vista’s investors well. “I think it’s a foolish move,” he said. “I tend to be pro-gun, so anytime someone starts bailing out of the market, I just think it’s a foolish move on their part.”
He cited American Outdoor Brands’s expansion into recreational and sport products, growing into a “niche player in a very large market.” He argued a similar strategy for Vista may not pan out. “They’re basically going to be an outdoors market except for the ammunition component,” he said. “I don’t know that that’s going to do well for them.”
Vista Chief Executive Officer Chris Metz said he expects the company “will have good news to share” before the end of its fiscal year in March. “Our team is now laser focused on the divestiture process for Savage Arms,” he said. “We’ve chosen a financial advisor for the transaction and are beginning to engage with potential buyers for the Savage brand.”
Metz expects a strong auction process will unfold with bids from strategic and financial buyers. “I’m pleased that our transformation plan is resonating with some seasoned and successful brand leaders who want to be a part of this turnaround,” he said.
Metz is probably right. There may well be a bidding process over the name.
I also agree with Duprey that it’s a dumb move for Vista Outdoor. Savage is a well-known brand with a fairly high degree of brand recognition, which would bring in customers all on their own.
Further, divesting itself of Savage wouldn’t make any of its other brands less likely to be blasted by anti-gunners. After all, Vista Outdoor also owns ammunition companies like Federal, CCI, Speer, Blazer, and American Eagle. That alone would make them ripe for attack from zealots looking to penalize any company that supports the Second Amendment.
In other words, this move doesn’t make a lot of sense.
That is unless the company feels its in trouble and believes the sale of savage would bring in enough money to save the overall company.
Of course, there probably are a thousand reasons to sell Savage, and maybe some of them make sense. I’ll just be damned if I can think of any.
Regardless, I think someone is going to snap up Savage and end up a much stronger company in the long run.