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December 18th, 2012

Cerberus Will Sell Off Freedom Group Companies

Freedom Group CerberusCerberus Capital Management, LP (Cerberus), announced today that it would sell its stake in Freedom Group, Inc. (Freedom Group), a holding company that owns numerous firearms-industry businesses. The Freedom Group Family of Companies includes Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin, H&R, DPMS, Barnes Bullets, Eotac, and Dakota Arms. A Bushmaster AR15-type rifle was one of the weapons found at the scene of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter, also carried Glock and Sig Sauer pistols.

Freedom Group Family of companies

In deciding to sell the Freedom Group, Cerberus was influenced by its large institutional investors. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which has over $700 million invested in Cerberus, stated that it was re-examining its Cerberus investment in light of recent events. Translation: After Newtown, this big pension fund was very uncomfortable with the fact that Cerberus was so heavily involved in the gun business (through its ownership of the Freedom Group and specifically Bushmaster).

Here is the text of the Press Release issued by Cerberus on December 18, 2012:

We were shocked and deeply saddened by the events that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012. We cannot comprehend the losses suffered by the families and friends of those killed by the unthinkable crimes committed that day. No words or actions can lessen the enormity of this event or make a dent in the pain that was inflicted on so many.

In 2006 affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. made a financial investment in Freedom Group. Freedom Group does not sell weapons or ammunition directly to consumers, through gun shows or otherwise. Sales are made only to federally licensed firearms dealers and distributors in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. We do not believe that Freedom Group or any single company or individual can prevent senseless violence or the illegal use or procurement of firearms and ammunition.

It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level. The debate essentially focuses on the balance between public safety and the scope of the Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment. As a Firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers. Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients who are comprised of the pension plans of firemen, teachers, policemen and other municipal workers and unions, endowments, and other institutions and individuals. It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators.

There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take. Accordingly, we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group. We will retain a financial advisor to design and execute a process to sell our interests in Freedom Group, and we will then return that capital to our investors. We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities impacted by this tragic and devastating event.

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

About Cerberus Capital Management: A private equity firm established in 1992, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. has more than US $20 billion under management invested in four primary strategies: distressed securities & assets; control and non-control private equity; commercial mid-market lending and real estate-related investments.

Read Related Chicago Tribune Article about Freedom Group Divestiture.

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January 8th, 2012

Cost-Cutting Capitalist Robert Nardelli Named Remington CEO

Nardelli Remington CEO logoNew 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).

Nardelli Remington CEO logoChanges 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.

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