Freedom Group, Inc. (FGI), is the “1000-pound gorilla” in the gun industry, a holding company that owns/operates gun brands Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin, DPMS, H&R, and Dakota Arms. FGI also owns Barnes Bullets, Eotec Optics, and AAC Suppressors.
To help run this large enterprise, FGI recently promoted Scott Blackwell to the position of FGI President. Blackwell previously served as FGI’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. Blackwell has worked in the firearms industry for the last 15 years. After leaving Beretta, Blackwell started as President of Bushmaster Firearms in 2006, becoming Remington President of Sales and Marketing in 2007, rising to FGI Chief Sales Officer later that year, and finally becoming the FGI Chief Sales and Marketing Officer two years ago.
“Scott’s leadership, institutional knowledge and strategic thinking make [Blackwell] a natural fit as President,” said George Kollitides, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FGI. As FGI President, Blackwell will oversee all revenue, branding, marketing and communications for FGI.
Blackwell stated: “Since 2006, I’ve been fortunate to have a leading role in the development and expansion of FGI,” said Blackwell. “To become President of FGI, representing the tens of millions of hunters, shooters, gun owners and first responders who use our products every day, is a life’s dream. With a company history almost as old as the Republic itself, I understand the importance of not merely passing along our legacy, but improving it. We are more than a gun company; we are a defining part of American culture. This is our path forward, and as President of FGI I look forward to guiding us there.”
The Remington-Bushmaster 2012 Long Range Regional Championship was held at Reade Range in Fallen Timbers, Pennsylvania on June 1, 2, and 3. We had a great turn out of over 60 shooters. Half of these shooters showed up on Friday to participate in the practice and team match. The weather had other plans for the shooters though and the second half of the team match was rained out.
Saturday started off sunny, but cool and windy, with 62 shooters registering in Sling (43), F-TR (7) and F-Open (12). Pit service was provided by the Boy Scouts, and had a rocky start. With the help of some shooter volunteers, pit operations smoothed out throughout the day and the first three 1000-yard Matches ran without incident. The wind pretty much held a steady 2 MOA left throughout the day, and some high scores were fired.
After the Saturday matches were finished and daily scores posted, Bryan Litz conducted a wind clinic, and then the Reade Range Staff provided a wonderful meal of ca-bobs, salads, fresh fruit and beverages. Then came the prize raffle. Over 50 prizes were raffled off, including a Vortex Spotting Scope, gift certificates, and other merchandise items worth over $6000.
Sunday morning started off overcast and the same wind as the day before. Conditions remained constant and the pits ran smoother than ever with more volunteers helping the scout troops. Rain was forecasted to start at 3:00 pm so the shooters were eager to move through the matches and beat the rain. Mission accomplished, as a cease fire was called just before 3:00 pm, ending the last match. Scores were quickly figured and awards were promptly given. Bryan Litz, of Applied Ballistics LLC, announced the winners of each individual match, Tom Ferraro announced the aggregate match winners, and finally Ken Roxburgh presented the winners with guns on behalf of Remington-Bushmaster. The rain showed up as the final name was announced.
Bryan Litz remarked: “We would like to thank everyone who participated in this match and all of those who helped make it a great weekend. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again next year!”
1st: Bryan Litz 1194-70
1st: James Crofts 1141-27
1st: Don Nagel 1172-41
2nd: Trevor Hengehold 1190-65
2nd: Brad Sauve 1134-25
2nd: Bob Woodward 1169-49
3rd: Jon Howell 1188-60
3rd: William Litz 1122-19
3rd: Jim Murphy 1159-38
Gun Winners by Gun Class:
High Palma: Bill Bowers 1180-43
Any/Iron: Bryan Litz 598-36
Any/Any: Jon Howell (pictured) 597-35
Jr. Any/Iron: Tommy Ferraro 557-12
Jr. Any/Any: Joe Hendricks Jr. 571-14
High Grand Senior: David Brantner 1164-42
High Senior: Gerry Sanders 1179-47
High F-TR: James Crofts 1141-27
High F-Open: Don Nagel 1172-41
George Kollitides has been appointed acting Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of the Board for Freedom Group, Inc. (FGI). Kollitides, a hunter, shooter and firearms enthusiast, sits on three NRA Committees, is a trustee of the NRA Foundation and is a director of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. He is a past director of the Safari Club International Connecticut Chapter. Kollitides was previously a managing director of Cerberus Capital Management, where he was the architect of FGI and its lead director. Kollitides stated, “I am ecstatic to join the FGI team, where we have the greatest employees and a 200-year history of 100% American-made [products].”
In an interview with John Zent, editorial director for NRA Publications, Kollitides was asked how the Freedom Group can support hunting, the shooting sports, and gun-owners’ rights. Kollitides answered: “Our job is to build the best products possible, provide good manufacturing jobs for Americans and represent our investors’ best interests. If our efforts succeed in growing our user groups, shooters, hunters, the military and law enforcement, they will have a much louder voice in public policy. The key for us is to strengthen our industry and strengthen our users, customers, and partners. Doing that by making relevant, quality product, along with education and access, we think, is the right way to go about it, and so we are working with state and local governments, not-for-profit hunting and shooting organizations, and, of course, the NRA.”
New Chief Executive at Remington Arms
Robert L. Nardelli has been selected as the new CEO of Remington Arms Company. Remington is part of the Freedom Group, Inc., which is owned by Cerberus Capital Management, a private holding company. Prior to taking over the reigns at Remington, Nardelli has served with Cerberus as a leading executive.
Nardelli’s Chrysler Years
Mr. Nardelli joined Cerberus in the spring of 2007, and, shortly thereafter, was named Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Motors Company, LLC. He was noted for aggressive cost-cutting at Chrysler and for improving build quality which reduced warranty claims. Nonetheless, Chrysler filled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, and Nardelli was replaced as Chrysler CEO by Italian Sergio Marchionne who has guided the Detroit automaker from bankruptcy to profitability.
Nardelli Aggressively Cut Costs and Streamlined Operations at Home Depot
Before his stint at Chrysler, Nardelli served as Home Depot’s Chairman and CEO. Prior to that, Nardelli was CEO of General Electric Power Systems. Nardelli’s tenure as head of Home Depot was controversial. Using the Six Sigma management strategy he learned at GE, Nardelli dramatically overhauled Home Depot. He streamlined operations, most notably implementing a computerized automated inventory system. Many of those moves were effective (revenues rose from $46 to $81.5 billion in six years) but Nardelli’s autocratic management style turned off employees and the public. Nardelli was notably criticized for cutting back on knowledgeable full-time employees with experience in the trades and replacing them with part-time help with little relevant experience. This move reduced costs, but hurt customer service. Home Depot’s stock price stagnated, and the company lost market share to Lowe’s. Nardelli left Home Depot with a massive $210,000,000 severance package — a “golden parachute” that drew criticism from Home Depot shareholders (and members of Congress).
Changes Ahead for Remington? Will Nardelli shake up Remington the way he did Home Depot, streamlining operations and laying off senior employees? Will we see further consolidation of manufacturing among Freedom Group brands? Only time will tell. Nardelli’s policies will be formulated, to be sure, to match the larger objectives of Cerberus. But Nardelli has a reputation as a tough cost-cutter, so changes may be in store for Remington Arms Company, the oldest continuously-operating manufacturer in North America.
About Freedom Group, Inc.
Freedom Group is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of firearms and ammunition. The Freedom Group embraces multiple brands including Remington, Marlin, Harrington & Richardson, New England Firearms, L.C. Smith, Parker, Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, EOTAC, and INTC.
The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) has issued a statement regarding the internet rumors that George Soros in some way controls Cerberus Capital Management, or the Freedom Group of companies. As we have stated in the Daily Bulletin, Soros has no connection to the Freedom Group or Cerberus Capital Management (a holding company that owns the Freedom Group). Claims that Soros is involved in Cerberus or the Freedom Group are 100% false. Here is the NRA ILA statement first issued on October 14, 2011:
From the NRA ILA:
Recently, an old rumor regarding Cerberus–the private equity firm that owns Freedom group, a holding company that in turn owns a number of firearms manufacturers, including Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster, and DPMS–was in some way tied to George Soros.
This rumor is completely false and baseless.
NRA has had contact with officials from Cerberus and Freedom Group for some time. The owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters. In reality, at no time has George Soros ever been a part of the ownership group of Freedom Group or Cerberus, and as a privately-traded corporation, there is no possibility that he will be in the future.
This unsubstantiated rumor has caused a great deal of unnecessary concern for gun owners. NRA-ILA urges our members to take great care before repeating baseless rumors[.]
An old rumor has once again resurfaced alleging that Cerberus–the private equity firm that owns Freedom group, a holding company that in turn owns a number of firearms manufacturers, including Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster, and DPMS–is in some way tied to George Soros.
This rumor is completely false and baseless.
Following is a statement from Freedom Group, Inc., addressing the rumor:
Despite rumors to the contrary, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., the firm which owns Freedom Group. Inc. (FGI), the holding company for such firearms manufacturers as Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster and DPMS, is in NO WAY affiliated with anti-gun activist George Soros.
George Soros has never been a part of Freedom Group or Cerberus. Further, as Cerberus is a privately owned corporation, run by sportsmen, shooters and firearms enthusiasts, we can say with great sincerity and certainty that George Soros will never be a part of the Freedom Group family of companies.
“If anyone should know whether George Soros is affiliated with either Freedom Group or Cerberus, it’s me,” said George Kollitides, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FGI. “I spent the last eleven years of my career at Cerberus and just recently stepped down to become executive chairman and chief executive officer of FGI. I did this in order to devote 100 percent of my time, effort and passion to a company I spent years building. I can emphatically proclaim, without the slightest of doubt, that George Soros has never, does not and never will own or be affiliated with Cerberus or Freedom Group.”
What the High Power Clinic Will Cover
The free shooting clinic will be conducted by team coach Ken Roxburgh, and Team Remington/Bushmaster members. The clinic will offer formal classroom instruction, practical application, dry and live fire training, and demonstrations by some of the world’s leading high power service rifle and match rifle competitors. Clinic Topics will include:
Fundamentals of High Power Shooting
Positions — Standing, Sitting, Prone
Trigger Control and Aiming
Courses of Fire
Effects of Weather
Weapon handling and safety
Competition Data book
Rifle Care and Cleaning
Assembly/disassembly of Match Guns
How to Sign Up for the FREE High Power Clinic
Interested shooters can register for the Team Remington/Bushmaster High Power Rifle Shooting Clinic at the CMP website. There you can learn more about the clinic and download the Registration Form. Participants are encouraged to bring their shooting equipment and rifles; ammunition is not required for the course. To prepare you may want to read our article on the Basics of High Power Competition.
If you’re interested in watching a real pro shooting Service Rifle, here’s former National Champion (now Creedmoor Sports G.M.) Dennis Demille, shooting 300-yard Rapids from the prone position position. This was filmed at last year’s Southwest Nationals. You’ll see him adjusts his sights while looking through the spotter. Then watch how calm and steady Dennis stays from shot to shot. That comes with years of practice and training.
How about a bolt gun? This next, high-def video was taken by our friend Jonathan Ocab a competitive shooter and talented photographer from Southern California. It shows Dennis Demille shooting the 200-yard Rapids (sitting position) with a Tube 2000 bolt-action gun. Notice the quick reload after he empties his first magazine.
Editor’s Note: Both Remington and Bushmaster are Freedom Group Companies. The Freedom Group is owned by Cerberus Capital Management, a private holding company. Now, please read carefully, because there is much mis-information floating around the internet currently. Georges Soros, either individually or as part of an investment group, does NOT own or control Cerberus. Repeat George Soros does NOT own or control Cerberus. Nor does he (or his investment companies) own or control any of the Freedom Group of companies. Got that?
The Freedom Group, Inc. (FG) announced that Bushmaster Firearms Int’l production has been moved to the Freedom Group’s Ilion, New York facility, where Remington rifles (and other FG family brand firearms) are crafted. Bushmaster guns were previously built in Bushmaster’s Windham, Maine factory which is slated to close its doors at the end of this month, with a loss of 73 jobs. Freedom Group expects to create 40-50 new positions at the Ilion, New York facility as a result of the relocation.
The Freedom Group is one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the world. Among its product brands are: Remington, Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, H&R, Parker, EOTAC, Mountain Khakis, AAC, and Dakota. A Freedom Group press release states: “The Bushmaster brand and products remain key strategic assets within the Freedom Group portfolio. The manufacturing relocation will have no impact on customers or the existing supply base”. John Trull, the Freedom Group’s Firearms Marketing VP, added: “We are committed to the Bushmaster brand, its core product offerings and bringing innovative new Bushmaster firearms to our customers.”
Bushmaster has issued a recall of ACR semi-auto rifles because they may malfunction and go “full-auto” with a single pull of the trigger. While Bushmaster says this problem “may develop with a small number of ACR rifles”, Bushmaster is recalling the whole production run: “All Bushmaster-produced ACR Rifles are impacted by this notification.” Here are the key terms of the ACR RECALL:
“Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC has become aware of a possible firearms performance issue that may develop with a small number of ACR rifles and we are requesting you discontinue use of this rifle immediately, and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can make the necessary arrangements to have the rifle returned to us for inspection and update if necessary.”
“During routine test firing, Bushmaster discovered a design flaw which could result in multiple rounds firing continuously when the trigger is pulled. This unexpected firing of multiple rounds creates a potentially dangerous situation.”
Want to own a piece of Remington? And throw in Bushmaster, Marlin, DPMS, H&R and EOTAC for good measure? Well you may have your chance later this year. The Freedom Group, a holding company owned by Cerberus Capital Management, is planning to “go public”. Last fall, the Freedom Group filed a preliminary S-1 prospectus with the SEC. This launched the process of regulatory approvals needed for a Freedom Group public offering. Three weeks ago, the Freedom Group filed an amended S-1 in preparation for an IPO in the second half of 2010.
We’ve all been watching the Freedom Group gobble up one firearms-maker after another over the past few years, building the colossus of the gun industry. (See Acquisition Timeline.) Now the Freedom Group claims to be “the largest manufacturer of commercial firearms and ammunition” in the world. The Freedom Group conglomerate includes more than a dozen leading brands: Advanced Armament, Barnes Bullets, Bushmaster Firearms, Dakota Arms (including Miller Arms and Nesika), DPMS/Panther Arms, EOTAC, INTC, Marlin (including H&R, New England Firearms and L.C. Smith), and Remington Arms. With its series of acquisitions (most recently Advanced Armament and Barnes), the Freedom Group has become a dominant player in the Shooting Sports and Security Industries. In its SEC Filings, the Freedom group declared $54.5 million in net income on $848.7 million in net sales.
When will the Freedom Group launch its IPO and how much will shares cost? That information has not yet been revealed, but documents filed so far definitely point to a public offering sometime this year. Will buying shares in the Freedom Group prove a good investment? Well if you had bought gun company stocks immediately after the November 2008 election you could have tripled your money. However, some experts say Cerberus’ decision to take the Freedom Group public indicates that the “blush is off the rose” and the gun industry may be facing lean times ahead, with reduced profit potential and slower growth. For cynics, the IPO announcement confirms that Cerberus plans to “take the money and run” — disposing of the Freedom Group before its profitability declines.
What may be the very first production, civilian Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR) was presented to Florida shooter J. James, who was the winner of an Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC) silent auction for the rifle (with AAC silencer). AAC was recently acquired by Remington Arms Co. as a Cerberus Freedom group company, along with Bushmaster. That’s how AAC got its hands on the first civilian ACR. The upper receiver is stamped S/N GR00100 and “MODEL – BACR”. Interestingly, the rifle is also stamped “CALIBER – MULTI”. Everybody has been clamoring for photos of the actual production version of the ACR. Well, here they are.
James had the weapon professionally photographed, and posted the images on Photobucket.com and AR15.com.
The new ACR features a 16″ barrel with m4 profile. A 4th Generation rail system offers removable Picatinny rails. James’ gun came with two (2) stocks, both the new-style, spring-lock folder and the fixed stock. The charging handle is ambi-dextrous and can be flipped left or right, as well as up and down. James reports that the ACR exhibits good fit and function. He says the trigger is “100% better than the SCAR” and is very crisp.
If you had purchased Ruger (RGR) or Smith & Wesson (SWHC) stock after the November election, you would have seen your investment grow almost three-fold. Ruger stock now trades at over $13.00 after hitting $4.52 last fall. If Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin and other Freedom Group companies “went public”, could they ride the coat-tails of Ruger and S&W, and succeed collectively as a publicly traded stock? Cerberus, a private holding company that controls the Freedom Group, apparently thinks so.
Cerberus Plans IPO for Remington and Freedom Group
A surge in gun sales has pushed the stock prices of major firearms manufacturers upwards. Will that trend continue? We can’t say. However, the money men at Cerberus Capital Management, which owns Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin, and other Freedom Group companies, have decided that the time is ripe to “go public” and start selling stock. According to a 10/19 report in the Wall Street Journal Blog, Cerberus plans an initial public offering (IPO) for its Freedom Group companies. The Freedom Group is comprised of Advanced Armament Corp., Bushmaster, Dakota Arms, DPMS, Eotac, H&R, L.C. Smith, NEF, Parker Gun, Remington Arms Company. Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC) is the latest addition to the Freedom Group collection, having been acquired just this month and placed under the Remington Military Products Division.
In its report on the pending Freedom Group IPO, the Wall Street Journal Blog cited AccurateShooter.com. When Cerberus acquired riflemaker DPMS in 2007, we wrote: “One positive aspect to Cerberus’ involvement in the gun industry is that the huge political clout Cerberus commands as the ‘rescuer’ of Chrysler Corp. should undermine efforts to ban AR-platform rifles. Cerberus is big enough to make waves in Washington. Money talks in politics and Cerberus has lots of it.”
Is the timing right for a gun-company IPO? The stock-market continues to move upward, and gun and ammunition sales remain very strong. On the other hand, the panic buying of black rifles has tapered off and AR-platform gun prices are now dropping back to “pre-panic” levels. Morever, at the end of each calendar year there are usually major stock sell-offs. That could drive down prices of Ruger and Smith & Wesson, which could dampen enthusiasm for a Freedom Group IPO. On the other hand Remington is an historic brand with a strong customer base, and Remington/Bushmaster are poised to take an increasing share of lucrative military contracts. With its new ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle), Remington could well win the contract for the AR15′s replacement. And, even if the US military sticks with Stoner’s 50-year-old AR design, Bushmaster can fill that need, though it has strong competition from Colt and FN Herstal.
A cynical observer might say that Cerberus is simply looking to grab easy profits by “flipping” arms companies it acquired at fire-sale prices. Given the huge run-up in Ruger and S&W stock prices over the past 12 months, Cerberus may figure that investors will be hungry for Freedom Group shares. Right now may be the best time to take the Freedom Group public while gunmakers are still considered a “hot property” on Wall Street. In six months that could change.
This past week, Remington held a new products seminar in Kerrville, TX. While Remington tried to impose a “news embargo” through November 15, details leaked out about many of Remington’s new guns.
The big news is the planned release of a civilian, semi-auto version of the Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR). The Guns and Hunting Blog “spilled the beans”, revealing that Remington plans to sell a semi-auto ACR in the civilian market, starting in the first half of 2010. Based on a Magpul prototype, the ACR has been under development for two years, as a collaboration between Bushmaster and Remington. Price for the civilian ACR is expected to be under $2000, considerably less than the FN SCAR, a similar weapon now being tested by the U.S. Military.
The civilian version of the modular ACR will likely sport a 16.5″, 1:7″ twist barrel standard. Multiple barrel lengths can be fitted (see diagram above), and barrels can be changed without tools. Remarkably the entire gun can be field-stripped down to six major components in under 90 seconds. The ACR features integral rails on top of the receiver and on the forearm. The buttstock adjusts for length and also folds back using a hinge at the rear of the receiver. The charging handle is non-reciprocating. Weight with a 14.5″ barrel (no magazine) is 7 pounds.
Adam Heggenstaller of Guns and Hunting reports: “The consumer version will be offered with a 16.5-inch barrel, but Bushmaster will also be making barrels with lengths of 10.5, 14.5 and 18 inches. The first version of the ACR will be chambered in 5.56×45 mm, of course, but since a tool-less disassembly allows you to change bolt heads, barrels and magazines, the ACR can be user-configured to run with other cartridges as well. Ongoing development will focus on the 6.8 mm Rem. SPC, 7.62×39 mm, a yet-to-be-disclosed 6.5 mm round and the .30 Rem AR.”