Vista Outdoor enters fishing industry with $192.5 million acquisition
Anoka-based Vista Outdoor will pay $192.5 million to acquire Simms Fishing Products, a premium brand that can serve as an anchor for its new fishing segment.
The move, announced Wednesday, comes ahead of its plans to split the business into separate outdoor products and ammunition companies next year.
Vista’s ambition is to be the acquirer of choice in the outdoor recreation space, completing eight acquisitions over the past two to three years. Two big deals in the past month – Simms and Fox Racing – further cement Vista’s reputation as a sought-after owner for outdoor brands.
“Simms is the perfect fit for our diverse portfolio of iconic and leading outdoor brands,” said Chris Metz, managing director of Vista Outdoor, in a press release. “Simms expands our core addressable market in the highly attractive fishing category with a premium, innovative brand with significant room for growth. »
Simms Fishing Products is based in Bozeman, Montana. and makes waders; waders and other footwear; outerwear and other technical clothing and equipment for those who fish.
Earlier in July, Vista announced it would buy Fox Racing for $540 million, plus an additional $50 million in potential milestone payments. Fox makes gear and protective apparel for ATV and motocross riders and will fit Vista’s existing action sports brands such as Bell, Giro, Blackburn and others.
None of Vista’s other outdoor brands have been in the fishing category. Existing brands have mainly focused on technical clothing and bags, outdoor cooking equipment, hydration products and, recently, golf simulators and launch monitors.
The global fishing gear industry was valued at $24 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $32 billion by 2028, according to a report by The Insight Partners.
Simms has 170 employees and is expected to generate approximately $110 million in annual sales. According to the press release, Simms’ annual revenue grew at a compound annual rate of 15% from 2019 to 2021 and is expected to grow faster in 2022.
“We really like the fishing category in general, it has great participation rates,” Metz said. “We looked at a lot of potential early entrants into the angling market and Simms was at the top of the list. … He’s a perfect fit for us.”
Vista plans to split the company into an outdoor products company, which will include Fox Racing and Simms, and a yet-to-be-named ammunition company that will be anchored by Federal, based in Anoka, and will include other ammunition brands like Remington. , Speer and CCI.
When the split was announced, the company said the outdoor products company would move its headquarters to Bozeman, which appealed to Simms executives.
“The decision to locate the soon-to-be-separate Outdoor Products segment headquarters in Bozeman made our decision even easier,” KC Walsh, executive chairman of Simms, said in a press release. “This will reinforce Simms’ made in Montana heritage and strong commitment to our local community.”
Simms general manager Casey Sheahan will continue to lead the fishing brand. Walsh would become a strategic advisor and advocate for conservation and government affairs.
The deal for Simms and Fox Racing is expected to close in Vista’s second quarter of fiscal 2023, which ends Sept. 30.
Vista also released its first quarter results after the market closed on Wednesday. The company earned $126 million, or $2.16 per share. Sales increased 21% from a year ago to $802.6 million.
Sales at the Sporting Products Group, which includes Federal and Remington, rose 40% to $511 million, while sales at the Outdoor Products Group fell 2% to $292 million.
Shares of the company rose 2.65% on Thursday.