September 4th, 2008

Beretta-Owned Burris Acquires Steiner-Optik GmbH

Here’s another outdoor industry business consolidation, another big fish swallowing little fish. Beretta Holdings, through its Burris division, has acquired Germany’s Steiner-Optik GmbH. Steiner, a respected maker of optics, particularly binoculars, is based in Bayreuth, Germany, and now employs 120 workers. Steiner will be integrated into the Beretta Group through its optics subsidiary, Burris, based in Colorado. So now the Germans will be making binoculars for a US-based company owned by Italians.

Steiner BinocularsWhy did this acquisition take place? Steiner has not been very successful in the North American market. Steiner’s President and CEO, Carl Steiner, needed the help of an international group with strong distribution and plenty of marketing clout. Beretta Holdings doubtless believes that the addition of Steiner, a “prestige” optics name for over 50 years, will help Burris compete against high-end brands such as Leica and Swarovski. This is a good thing for Burris. Steiner has a record of innovation: Steiner produced the first pocket-sized binoculars, the first commercial binoculars with rubber armor, and the first binoculars with an anti-UV protective lens coating.

Burris General Manager, Steve Bennetts, said both Burris and Steiner have strong brand identification, and he suggested that the two companies will soon coordinate their product development efforts. We suspect this means the high-end optics will carry the Steiner name while mid- and low-cost optics will be sold as Burris products.

Beretta’s companies offer a vast range of products, with optic devices representing an increasingly important component. Current companies owned by Beretta Holdings include: Beretta, Benelli, Burris, Franchi, Meccanica Del Sarca, Sako, Stoeger, Tikka, Uberti Replicas.

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