Vista Outdoor finalized the sale of three eyewear brands this week — the first of several planned divestitures as the company refocuses on ammunition innovation. A private equity firm based in Europe acquired Bollé, Serengeti and Cébé in July, netting approximately $154 million for Vista.
“Completing the sale of our eyewear brands is a positive step in our strategic transformation plan,” said Chief Executive Officer Chris Metz in a news release Tuesday. “We believe this is a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties, and we are excited that the buyer will help these iconic brands thrive.”
Vista owns 55 companies in firearms, ammunition and shooting accessories, including Savage Arms, Stevens, Federal Premium, Speer and American Eagle. It also holds brands in the outdoor lifestyle market. In the weeks after taking over Vista last year, Metz warned quick, “decisive” action laid ahead in order to turn around double digit earnings losses.
He told investors earlier this year “the company grew too fast and beyond its core” since splitting with Orbital ATK in 2015. A downturn in sales post-election only compounded the situation, he added.
The decision sell ownership of Savage Arms, announced in early May, however, drew some criticism for appearing to appease investors connected to the corporate backlash against the gun industry in the wake of the Parkland massacre. A Vista spokesperson told Guns.com while the news came at a bad time, it was decided late last year — long before major banks and retailers began limiting interaction with manufacturers.
They money from the possible sale of Savage and other brands will fund Vista’s innovations in ammunition, a spokesperson told Guns.com in May. The company released 36 new product lines this year and plans for another three dozen next year.
“We are eager to build on the momentum from this sale,” Metz said Tuesday. “We are hard at work on the next stage of our transformation plan and confident in our ability to put Vista Outdoor on a path for future success.”