Simms fishing
(Photo/Simms)

Vista Outdoor Buys Simms Fishing Products, Adds to Fast-Growing Stable

Vista Outdoor Inc. acquired the U.S.-based fishing gear manufacturer on Wednesday. The new asset bolsters its rapidly expanding portfolio and arrives ahead of a major restructure for the company.

On July 27, Vista Outdoor Inc. announced it purchased Bozeman, Montana’s Simms Fishing Products for $192.5 million. It added the distinctive maker of waders and other fishing gear to a robust profile of hunting companies that includes huge names like Remington, Bushnell, and Tasco.

It’s the latest acquisition for a company rapidly growing into a juggernaut in the outdoor consumer brands space. On July 7, it acquired Fox Racing (the motocross and suspension brand’s apparel arm), bringing it under an umbrella that already included Giro, Bell, CamelBak, and others.

The announcement also arrived ahead of Vista Outdoor’s upcoming executive action to split into two companies. Currently, it operates under two major divisions: “Ammunition,” which consolidates its hunting and shooting gear, and “Outdoor Products,” which sells the rest of its outdoor equipment and apparel.

On May 5, it said it planned to bisect along those lines. Though the company has not announced a date for when that will happen, it has confirmed that the “Outdoor Products” segment will move to Bozeman — which makes Simms an obvious fit.

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Simms to Retain Staff, Stay in Bozeman

Simms Fishing Products Executive Chairman K.C. Walsh spoke about the arrangement’s viability.

“It is hard to imagine a better partner for Simms. Vista Outdoor is committed to helping us build continued momentum through operational expertise, access to growth capital, and their Supply Chain and Digital Centers of Excellence,” Walsh said.

“The decision to locate the headquarters of the soon-to-be separated Outdoor Products segment in Bozeman made our decision even easier, as it will reinforce Simms’ made-in-Montana heritage and strong commitment to our local community.”

Staffing continuity, which Vista promised to preserve through the acquisition, should help maintain the local pride Walsh claimed.

Simms will retain CEO Casey Sheahan, who will continue to lead its day-to-day operations. Walsh will continue as a strategic advisor and as a company advocate for conservation and government affairs. And the current Simms management team and existing employee base will remain in place, Vista Outdoor said.

Simms Acquisition Financials

The transaction will finalize after the parties resolve customary closing adjustments. The $192.5 million gross purchase price includes a net present value of roughly $20 million in future tax benefits. Simms grew its net sales by a compound annual growth rate of approximately 15% from 2019 to 2021.

Vista Outdoor anticipates the brand will grow faster than that in calendar year 2022. Excluding transaction costs, the company expects the acquisition will become accretive to its earnings in fiscal year 2024.

Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.