Smith & Wesson board proposes name change

Smith & Wesson or American Outdoor Brands Corporation? (Photo: Daniel Terrill)

Smith & Wesson or American Outdoor Brands Corporation? (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

To fit its broader enterprise, board members for the iconic company Smith & Wesson have proposed changing the company’s name to American Outdoor Brands Corporation.

Next month, the 164-year-old company will hold a special meeting with stockholders to vote on the name change.

Smith & Wesson’s president and chief executive officer, James Debney, said the name “American Outdoor Brands Corporation” will better reflect their wide variety of products.

“Looking forward, we intend to aggressively grow organically and through strategic acquisitions, focusing on brands and products that best meet the needs and lifestyle of our target consumers,” he said.

To be clear, the name of the holding company, Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, will change, while the firearms brand, Smith & Wesson, will stay intact.

For the better part of two years, the company has been expanding into the more lucrative outdoor market — valued at $60 billion — by acquiring a number of brands in the gun, gun accessory, sporting, hunting and outdoor markets.

Starting in 2014, Smith & Wesson bought accessory maker Battenfeld Technologies, then several smaller companies and then laser sights maker Crimson Trace before dividing manufacturing efforts into four categories: firearms, accessories, electro-optics and manufacturing services.

While the longterm strategy has yet to show results, as the sales are still fresh, the accessories wing has shown 20 percent growth, raking in $15.3 million more than initial estimates, according to reports showing results for the company’s Fiscal Year 2016.

In September, Smith & Wesson reported $206.9 million in sales for its first quarter, a 40 percent increase from the year before, with accessories accounting for $14.5 million.

Stockholders — who bought shares before Oct. 24 — are invited to attend the meeting on Dec. 13 at 11 a.m. and submit votes, which will be accepted electronically. The company needs a majority vote to approve the name change.

Article updated at 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2016