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Vista Outdoor to separate shooting sports from outdoor sports in spin-off

Vista Outdoor to separate shooting sports from outdoor sports in spin-off

ANOKA, Minn. (BRAIN) — Vista Outdoor Inc. will separate its shooting sports and ammunition brands from outdoor sports brands — including Bell, Giro, Blackburn, CamelBak and QuietKat — by splitting into two distinct publicly-traded companies.

The company announced the plan Thursday morning prior to releasing its quarterly and full-year earnings report. 

It said the separation, which the Vista board has unanimously approved, will increase strategic focus and capital allocation, strengthen its ability to attract and retain top employees and better position both companies to acquire and partner with related brands.

A release announcing the decision did not mention the outdoor sports industry’s response to Vista Outdoor brands following the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Several retailers, including REI and some independent bicycle retailers, suspended orders of Vista products because of the company’s connection to the firearms industry. The following year, Vista sold its firearms brands Savage Arms and Stevens and REI resumed business with the outdoor brands.

While Vista sold its firearm brands in 2019, it retained its ammunition brands, which include Federal, Speer, Estate Cartridge, Hevi-Shot and CCI. Vista acquired the Remington ammunition brand in 2020.  

Following the planned separation, the Outdoor Products company — which Vista said it would rename at a later date — will include CamelBak, Bell, Giro, Blackburn, Copilot, Raskullz, Camp Chef, Bushnell, Bushnell Golf, Foresight Sports, Stone Glacier and QuietKat. The company will be based in Bozeman, Montana, and will be led by Chris Metz, the current CEO of Vista Outdoor. 

The Sporting Products company, which also will be renamed, will include the Federal, Remington, CCI, Speer, Estate Cartridge and HEVI-Shot brands. The company will be based in Anoka, Minnesota, where Vista Outdoor is currently headquartered and will be led by Jason Vanderbrink, who is currently president of the Sporting Products segment within Vista Outdoor.

Vista Outdoor plans to distribute 100% of the stock of the Outdoor Products company to its current shareholders as Outdoor Products becomes a new, independent, publicly-traded company. The distribution is intended to be tax-free to U.S. shareholders. The company said it expects the transaction to be completed in 2023.

Company announces record sales

Also on Thursday, Vista Outdoor announced that its sales rose by 37% in its fiscal 2022 full year, which ended March 31. Company-wide sales were more than $3 billion for the year and gross profit increased by 75% to $1.1 billion. Within the Outdoor Sports segment, sales rose 18% to $1.3 billion and gross profit increased 24% to $399 million.