October 01, 2020
The assets held by Remington Outdoor Company were sold off in bankruptcy court on September 29. The company had been beset in recent years by rocky ownership, legal issues and saddled with debt to the tune of nearly $1 billion according to media reports. Here’s the blow-by-blow as we know it now, noting that based on a review of the court filings there are mechanisms by which the acquiring companies could still terminate the deals.
Roundhill Group Acquires Remington
Big Green’s Ilion, New York, manufacturing facility—along with its barrel-making plant in Lenoir City, Tennessee—has been sold to Roundhill Group, LLC for $13 million. Information on this company is scant. “Roundhill Group LLC” is the name listed in the bankruptcy court documents, and an internet search turns up names of investment companies similar to this in Virginia. But it’s not an exact match, and there aren’t any corroborating media reports to pin it down, nor has Roundhill commented to the press at this point.
Remington is no stranger to being owned by investment/equity companies. It was famously (or infamously) purchased by Cerberus Capital Management in 2007 and renamed Freedom Group. It was an ownership widely panned by the gun community but one that was instrumental in the subsequent acquisition of various companies over the years. It became Remington Outdoor Company in 2015.
Ruger Acquires Marlin
Ruger’s $30 million offer for Marlin was accepted by Remington and approved by the bankruptcy judge. It’s long been known that Ruger was open to, if not actively looking for, an acquisition. Now it has one.
“The value of Marlin and its 150-year legacy was too great of an opportunity for us to pass up,” said Ruger President and CEO Chris Killoy. “The brand aligns perfectly with ours and the Marlin product portfolio will help us widen our already diverse product offerings.”
Marlin struggled in the early days following the acquisition by Remington in 2007. Observers lamented the loss of institutional knowledge when manufacturing was moved out of Marlin’s former North Haven, Connecticut, facility—although the recently installed CEO at Remington, Ken D’Arcy, had planned to make Marlin a major focus.
Now it’s Ruger’s turn, and in this case the company has no choice but to relocate manufacturing, as Remington’s Ilion plant is no longer an option. There has been no official announcement regarding the relocation, and Ruger has a number of choices here: Newport, New Hampshire; Mayodan, North Carolina; and Prescott, Arizona.
Vista Acquires Remington Ammunition
Maybe the biggest jackpot of the bankruptcy sale belonged to Vista—which already owns Federal, Speer, Blackhawk and more—when its bid of $81.4 million was accepted. This netted Vista not only Remington’s Lonoke, Arkansas, ammo manufacturing facility but also the Remington brand, at least as it applies to ammo as well as hunting and shooting accessories.
"With our deep expertise and resources, we can transform Remington's ammunition and accessories businesses to create a more efficient, profitable and sustainable operation,” said Vista CEO Chris Metz. “At the same time, by rescuing the Remington ammunition businesses from bankruptcy, we will protect hundreds of jobs, support wildlife and habitat conservation and ensure that hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts can continue to purchase their favorite ammunition and accessories."
Sierra Bullets Acquires Barnes
Barnes was another brand that D’Arcy had wanted to concentrate on. Now it belongs to successful bidder Sierra Bullets for $30.5 million. Sierra is owned by Salt Lake City, Utah, firm Clarus Corporation. Clarus is an outdoor lifestyle company with brands that include Black Diamond, which concentrates on climbing, skiing, backpacking and similar activities; Pieps, an Austrian-founded company known for rescue beacon technology; and skin-care brand Skinnourishment.
“Barnes embodies the ‘innovate and accelerate’ playbook we seek with ‘super-fan’ brands,” said John Walbrecht, Clarus’ president. “Barnes is a leader in lead-free, all copper bullets, with a rich history of product innovation and strong brand awareness amongst the core enthusiast, yet it has untapped go-to-market potential. We believe these ingredients give us a heightened advantage to develop world-class products, increase brand awareness, expand product categories and improve distribution while staying true to the core user.”
Sierra is located in Sedalia, Missouri; Barnes is in Mona, Utah. There have been no announcements regarding any changes to manufacturing locations.
Franklin Armory Acquires Bushmaster
One of the biggest albatrosses around Remington’s neck was the lawsuit filed by survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting, which landed squarely on Bushmaster, the brand of gun used in the shooting. It was this lawsuit that allegedly led to the proposed sale of Remington to the Navajo Nation earlier this year—the premise, some said, being that because Navajo is a sovereign nation it cannot be sued. The deal fell through.
Based on court papers, Franklin Armory was the successful bidder for the Bushmaster brand for $1.7 million. Franklin Armory, based in Nevada, is a maker of AR-15s and is well-known for building state-compliant guns for places like California as well as its binary trigger systems.
JJE Capital Holdings LLC Acquires H&R, Stormlake, DPMS, AAC and Parker JJE may be an equity firm, but it’s an equity firm that already owns gun and gun-related concerns, Palmetto State Armory probably most famous among them. JJE nabbed the former Remington brands for $2.5 million. Interestingly, JJE was the stalking-horse bidder for Remington intellectual property along with the Lonoke and Barnes ammunition operations.
Like Bushmaster, DPMS was effectively shuttered by Remington as the company moved to focus on other aspects of its business. DPMS was acquired by Remington/Freedom Group in 2007, and it had produced a wide variety of AR-15s and AR-10s for hunting and shooting.
AAC or Advanced Armament Corporation is one of the leading makers of suppressors, which is a booming business these days. AAC builds a wide array of suppressors for everything from .22 rimfires to .338 Lapua Magnum rifles.
Harrington & Richards was shut down by Remington in 2015. Fans of break-open single-shots can only hope this new owner has an interest in breathing life back into a name that will turn 150 years old in 2021.
Stormlake is a well-known (at least in some circles) Tennessee-based maker of pistol barrels. It’s company that Remington never seemed to pay much attention to, but it produces a variety of highly regarded threaded and non-threaded barrels for Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Glock and 1911 pistols.
Parker is an old-school name, a company that started building fine shotguns in 1867. It was purchased by Remington in 1934 and phased out in 1942. Don’t get your hopes up.
Sportsman’s Warehouse Acquires Tapco
Sportsman’s Warehouse went through its own Chapter 11 bankruptcy a little more than 10 years ago. Now, with its successful bid of $100,000, it’s the owner of a neglected accessories segment of Remington’s business. Tapco mostly produced small parts for ARs and AKs.
There’s been no mention of Sturgis, South Dakota-based riflemaker Dakota Arms in the court filings that I could find. We’ll update this article as we learn more.