April 6th, 2007

Remington to be Acquired by Cerberus

In somewhat startling news, the Remington Arms Company announced yesterday that it would be acquired by Cerberus Capital Managment. Cerberus is paying $118 million in cash and assuming Remington’s $252 million of accumulated debt. The deal is expected to close June 7th. Remington Arms was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington II. Currently, Remington is the #1 producer of shotguns and #1 producer of rifles for U.S. domestic sales according to published BATF records. For the time being Remington’s executives will stay in place, but Cerberus is known for bringing in its own management teams to run the companies it has acquired. Cerberus specializes in acquiring large enterprises that are cash-strapped or on the verge of bankruptcy, and then turning them around. In 2006 Remington posted earnings of $300,000 after three previous years of losses. Cerberus has been quite successful with its turn-around strategies, and now controls $23.5 billion worth of holdings, including MCI, the National and Alamo car rental chains, Air Canada, and Mervyns’ Department stores.

Interestingly, Cerberus acquired Bushmaster Firearms, Inc., for an undisclosed sum in April 2006. With both Bushmaster and Remington under its wing, Cerebus is poised to expand into the defense contract area. Cerberus campaigned very aggressively to successfully retain MCI’s $1 Billion computer services contract for the U.S. Navy and Marines. We expect Cerberus’ long-term plans include competing for major military small-arms contracts, including the eventual replacement for the M-16. Watch out Colt and FN–we think Cerberus is looking to build America’s next military rifles. Sources close to both companies confirm that a Remington-branded AR15 is in the works for the civilian market.

It will be interesting to see if Remington, under Cerberus’ control, makes changes in its product line-up. Remington executives can be faulted for ignoring major trends in the sport shooting market. Cowboy Action Shooting is the fastest growing segment of the shooting market, and Remington, despite its strong brand name and legendary heritage, offered very little that cowboy action shooters wanted to buy. Sturm, Ruger & Co. tapped that market very successfully. Remington, in many respects, has also failed to keep pace with competitors Ruger and Smith & Wesson in adopting modern, computerized production technologies. Ruger also produces a variety of non-firearms products such as golf clubs and industrial metal castings.

Remington Press Release | Bloomberg Report
Remington Bond Certificate courtesy of Scripophily.com.

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