The parent company of the well known cycling brands Giro, Bell, Blackburn and CamelBak has sold its Savage Arms and Stevens firearms brands. A significant number of cyclists had been boycotting goods owned by Vista Outdoors because of their sales of guns and ammunition and their enthusistic support of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
It is thought one of the major triggers for the sale was the decision in March 2018 by REI Co-op, one of the largest retailers of outdoor equipment in the US, to stop stocking all Vista Outdoor brands after the shootings in Parkland, Florida. Vista Outdoors' stock price fell 9.6 per cent on the REI news, wiping more than $40 million off the company's value. REI has agreed to start stocking Vista brands again following the news that they will no longer be involved in the firearms industry.
It will be interesting to see how many of the smaller cycling shops across America who have also boycotted Vista Outdoors will start ordering from them again and how many cyclists will now start buying Giro and Bell kit.
Vista Outdoors has sold their guns division for $170 million and they will use those funds to pay down their debts. Chris Metz, Chief Executive Officer of Vista Outdoor, did not exactly apologise for having been involved in the gun business, saying: "Divesting our Savage brand was a key aspect of our transformation plan. While it was a difficult decision to sell such an iconic brand, I remain confident that this was the correct choice to help Vista Outdoor grow in those categories where we can have leadership positions. Savage is a fantastic business, and it deserves to continue to evolve into other firearms categories. At this time, however, we simply do not have the resources to transform Savage into the full-service firearms company that it deserves to be and, therefore, we determined the brand would be better off with a different owner. We're excited to see Savage reach its full potential under new ownership."
REI confirmed it would now be stocking all Vista's major brands: "Today, we notified our merchants that we will resume orders with Giro, Bell, CamelBak, Blackburn and Camp Chef on the news that their parent company, Vista Outdoor, has secured a buyer for Savage Arms."
"REI orders of Vista-owned brands have been on hold since March 2018. At that time, Vista Outdoor chose not to engage in the national conversation about common-sense gun safety solutions that followed the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida."
"REI does not sell guns or ammunition and does not oppose hunting or the Second Amendment, but we believe companies that profit directly from the sale of guns have a civic responsibility to engage in the national discussion about gun safety, as Dick's Sporting Goods, Walmart, and others have done. We understand and respect that our members and employees enjoy life outside in many ways—including hunting."