With two transformative acquisitions announced in less than a month, the Vista Outdoor Inc. team has been busy this summer as the company continues to refine and redesign its extensive portfolio.
In July, the Anoka, Minn.-based parent company of more than three dozen outdoor and athletic product brands signed definitive agreements to acquire Irvine, Calif.-based Fox Racing for $590 million and Bozeman, Montana-based Simms Fishing Products for $193 million.
Fox Racing will build Vista Outdoor’s reputation in action sports, and Simms will give Vista Outdoor an industry-leading platform fishing brand. Equally important, the brands stay true to their roots as leaders in their respective categories.
These recent market-changing deals are further proof that Vista Outdoor, with its growing range of high-performing brands, is the Acquirer of choice in the outdoor industry. In addition, the latest assets will surely form the basis of the next chapter of Vista Outdoor, announced a few months ago and coming into focus with every strategic maneuver.
On May 5, the multibillion-dollar company announced it would split into two independent, publicly traded companies — Outdoor Products and Sporting Products, each of which will operate under new names and stock tickers beginning in 2023. Fox Racing and Simms will join CamelBak, Bushnell, Bell, Giro, QuietKat and more in the Outdoor Products company to be named later this year.
To better understand how Vista Outdoor will leverage these newest portfolio members to become one of the industry’s largest and most diversified outdoor recreation companies, and to see how these brands will thrive under the Vista Outdoor banner, view each deal here and its content will mean short and long term.
Simms: A trophy earning
Vista landed on it as a keeper in late July signed a definitive agreement to acquire Simms Fishing Products.
Founded in 1980 and acquired by KC Walsh, its current Executive Chairman, in 1993, Simms is one of the outdoor industry’s most recognized and innovative fishing tackle and apparel companies. It’s also a purpose-driven brand that resonates with consumers around the world. The company’s products are used by more than 8,500 Simms-sponsored fishing professionals and are sold directly to consumers through specialty retail stores domestically and internationally, as well as through simmsfishing.com.
The story goes on
Upon completion of the acquisition, Simms will continue to be based in Montana, where it will manufacture the quality apparel and gear customers have come to know and love for the last 30 years and continue to focus on environmental efforts. But the brand will also be the first asset in Vista Outdoor’s new fishing platform, which will delight anglers around the world as the sport and category grows.
“Simms will be a central part of our long-term growth strategy and the anchor of our new fishing platform within Outdoor Products,” said Chris Metz, CEO of Vista. “Fishing, particularly fly fishing, where Simms has its roots, is a natural neighborhood to our outdoor products business, and Simms serves an avid consumer group that over time has proven largely recession-resistant. With a popular, well-known brand like Simms, we are leaders and believe we can create an fishing platform that serves the 55+ million anglers while providing long-term growth and value for our shareholders for years to come.”
Joining Vista Outdoor not only provides the parent company with a desirable fishing platform, but will help Simms, whose annual sales are now $110 million, create greater brand loyalty by increasing its production, sales and customer base. (Click here for more details on the Simms transaction.)
“Simms Fishing Products has evolved into the most exciting brand in sportfishing, driving product innovation with our award-winning apparel, outerwear, footwear and accessories,” said Walsh. “Through our high-performance products, we encourage anglers to spend more time on the water – while promoting healthy fishing, responsible use and clean water. We are excited to become part of the Vista Outdoor family of brands. It’s hard to imagine a better partner for Simms. Vista Outdoor is committed to helping us build continued momentum through operational expertise, access to growth capital and their supply chain and digital centers of excellence.”
(Photo: Vista Outdoor)
Full speed ahead with Fox Racing
Vista Outdoor announced on July 6 that this was the case signed a definitive agreement to add Fox Racing to its portfolio–where it will be well positioned alongside Bell Helmets, Giro, Blackburn, Krash, Copilot and Raskullz. The acquisition adds another global icon to its already legendary lineup of action sports brands.
“Adding Fox Racing to our portfolio will allow us to target multiple consumer demographics in mountain and road biking, skiing/snowboarding and powersports,” said Metz. “We anticipate that Fox Racing and our legacy teams will find numerous opportunities to leverage core competencies, improve supply chain efficiency and resilience, and better serve our customers and consumers to fuel future growth. We believe the combined platform will empower and empower each company to be more profitable tomorrow than it is today, while continuing to deliver long-term returns for our shareholders.”
The deal, which adds approximately $350 million in revenue and $55 million in EBITDA, also gives Fox Racing plenty of runway to scale production while maintaining its 50-year legacy as the leading voice in motocross and adventure racing -Staying loyal to the community. Maintaining this ‘founder mentality’ was essential for Fox Racing before deciding to join the Vista Outdoor family. (Click here for more details on the Fox Racing transaction.)
“Together, we can leverage the legacy of our leading brands, leverage new supply chain synergies, expand our deep and established channels, and appeal to an expanded customer base,” said Jeffrey McGuane, CEO of Fox Racing, who will continue to manage the company after the acquisition is complete. “Combined with improved access to capital for innovation and scale, we believe this transaction is a win-win for all parties involved. Vista Outdoor’s leadership team has demonstrated that they have an effective, repeatable acquisition model in place, making Vista Outdoor the clear acquirer of choice for Fox It’s not often that an acquired business stays true to its culture and customer base while reaping the benefits of Vista Outdoor’s Centers of Excellence, extensive retail partnerships, innovation engines and a leadership team that enables a founder mindset and results-driven culture. Needless to say, we’re excited about this next chapter for Fox Racing.”
More change on the horizon
The next chapter for Vista Outdoor’s Outdoor Products business will include a new name, stock ticker, logo and more. A change has already been announced. The new company plans to establish its headquarters in Bozeman, a city that will serve not only as the home base for Simms but also for another Vista brand, Stone Glacier, as well as a major hub for the outdoor industry. Another Vista brand, Blackhawk, is based in Virginia but operates a manufacturing facility in nearby Manhattan, Montana.
Besides the Vista Outdoor Foundationnow in its second year, seeks to tap into the company’s newest brands to expand its grant partnerships with nonprofit organizations that advance conservation, access to nature, and other causes that unify the company’s diverse portfolio of brands and clients.
“The cultural alignment of Fox and Simms aligns well with our existing ethos and philosophy around access to conservation and bringing more people to the great outdoors,” said Fred Ferguson, vice president of public affairs and communications at Vista Outdoor and President of the Vista Outdoor Foundation. “The Board of Trustees recently met to set our 2022 calendar year. Our fundraising cycle is not set yet, but we expect to make grants and give away funds to outdoor nonprofits this year. Before that happens, we will take the time to solicit feedback from Fox and Simms and incorporate it into our 2022 strategy.”
Vista Outdoor reported first-quarter results for fiscal 2023 on July 27. click here for the report, including commentary from CEO Chris Metz and CFO Sudhanshu Priyadarshi on the financial performance for the period and the company’s recent acquisitions. Email us to learn more about Vista Outdoor and our brands. Media contact: Eric Smith: 901-573-9156, [email protected].
Vista Outdoor (NYSE: VSTO) is the parent company of more than three dozen renowned brands that design, manufacture and market athletic and outdoor products. We serve a broad and diverse range of consumers around the world, including outdoor enthusiasts, golfers, cyclists, barbecue grills, campers, hunters, recreational shooters, athletes, and law enforcement and military personnel. Vista Outdoor products are sold by leading retailers and distributors throughout North America and worldwide. Visit our website at for news and information www.vistaoutdoor.com.
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