Vista Outdoor

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Vista Outdoor Inc.
S&P 600 Component
Industryshooting sports and outdoor products
Founded2015, spun off from Alliant Techsystems
HeadquartersFarmington, Utah, United States
Key people
Chris Metz (CEO)
Productsfirearms, ammunition, and outdoor accessories
Number of employees

Vista Outdoor Inc. is an American publicly traded "designer, manufacturer, and marketer" of outdoor sports and recreation products. It operates in two segments, shooting sports and outdoor products, as a "house of brands" with more than 40 labels and subsidiaries. It trades under "VSTO" on the New York Stock Exchange.[1][2][3]


Alliant Techsystems (ATK), entered the ammunition and outdoor products business in 2001. ATK grew through acquisitions and a surge in demand for ammunition for police, hunting, and other private uses.[4]

In December 2014, regulators were informed that ATK intended to first merge its defense and satellite businesses with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia, and subsequently spin off its sporting ammunition business as a stand-alone public company to be named Vista Outdoor.[4] Vista Outdoor had signed an agreement for a $350 million secured loan with a term of five years and a $400 million revolving line of credit. Proceeds were partially used to pay down debt.[4] ATK and Orbital filed a joint proxy statement and prospectus describing the share issuance with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 17, 2014. The same month, the Department of Justice granted approval to the merger and spinoff.[2][5]

ATK spun-off Vista Outdoor upon closing its merger with Orbital Sciences and became Orbital ATK on February 9, 2015. Anyone holding ATK common stock at the end of the business day on February 2, 2015 received two shares of Vista Outdoor common stock. Eligible shareholders had their brokerage account credited or received a book-entry account statement reflecting their ownership. Vista Outdoor was thus initially 100% owned by ATK shareholders. Vista Outdoor stock traded on a "when-issued" basis from January 29, 2015 to February 9, 2015. It began "regular way" trading on the New York Stock Exchange on February 10, 2015 under the ticker symbol "VSTO." No payment or action of any kind was required of shareholders. This transaction was conducted on a tax-free basis. U.S. shareholders generally did not have to recognize a gain or loss for federal tax purposes.[1][6][7]

On February 25, 2016, BRG Sports announced its acceptance of a $400-million cash and earn-out deal to sell its "Action Sports" business to Vista Outdoor. Vista gained control of the Bell Sports, Giro, Blackburn, and C-Preme brands.[8]

On May 1, 2018, Vista Outdoor announced that it would consider selling off its gun manufacturing subsidiaries and Bell, Giro, Blackburn, and Jimmy Styks, to focus on its core brands for outdoors enthusiasts.[9] Months earlier, Vista announced that it was attempting to sell eyewear brands Bolle, Serengeti, and Cebe.[10] The company said its move out of the firearms business had nothing to do with recent boycotts. CEO Christopher Metz said the move had been planned in advance and that Savage Arms and Stevens would require too much investment to rectify their lack of handguns, which make up half the gun market in the US.[11] Metz said he expects the asset sales to be completed by the 2020 fiscal year.[12] Metz said the company would focus heavily on what it called its "heritage ammunition business."[13][14][15]

Vista Outdoor announced on July 9, 2018 that it had reached an agreement with a European private equity fund to sell the Bollé, Cébé and Serengeti eyewear brands.[16]

Financial results[edit]

For fiscal year 2015, Vista Outdoor reported earnings of $79.5 million or $1.25 per share on $2.08 billion in revenue. [8]

In a January 11, 2017 press release, Vista Outdoor disclosed that it expected to record "a material asset impairment charge in its hunting and shooting accessories reporting unit" for the third quarter of its fiscal year 2017. Vista reported that "the Company's preliminary analysis indicates the impairment charge will be in the range of $400 million to $450 million." [17]

For fiscal year 2018, Vista Outdoor had sales of $2.31 billion. It had gross earnings of $520.96 million dollars leading to a gross profit margin of 22.57%.[18] Free cash flow was $206 million compared to $$41 million for the prior fiscal year.[19]

Brands and subsidiaries[edit]

Many of Vista's brands are associated with shooting and hunting. This includes their Savage Arms line of rifles, Estate Cartridge line of shotshells, M-Pro7 Gun Cleaning System, Gunslick Pro line of gun care products, and Force on Force training ammunition.[20] The company also makes gear for camping, hiking, skiing, and biking such as flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, helmets, goggles, GPS locators, etc.[2][21]


Bushnell scopes on display at a hunting exhibition

Also known as Bushnell Outdoor Products, Bushnell specializes in optics and imaging. Its products include binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes, night vision equipment, GPS devices, laser rangefinders, riflescopes, holographic weapon sights, game cameras, and other high-end optical equipment. It also sells Bollé Performance Eyewear ski goggles and sunglasses and Serengeti Eyewear all-purpose sunglasses. David P. Bushnell founded Bushnell Corporation in 1948 during his service in the Allied-occupied Japan. In 1999, Bushnell was acquired by private equity firm Wind Point Partners. In 2007, Bushnell was acquired by MidOcean Partners, another private equity firm, which acquired it in a leveraged buyout. In 2008, Bushnell acquired the assets of Simmons Outdoor Corporation from Meade Instruments. ATK announced its acquisition of Bushnell on September 5, 2013 for $985 million in cash, subject to post-closing adjustments.[22][23]


Cascade Cartridge, usually called CCI Ammunition, is based in Lewiston, Idaho. In its infancy, CCI made centerfire primers for government use. As of March 2015, it mainly manufactures rimfire ammunition but also makes centerfire handgun ammunition, primers for reloading and industrial purposes, and shotgun shells. CCI was founded in 1951 by Dick Speer, brother of Speer Bullets founder Vernon Speer. CCI was previously known as the Speer Ammunition Company.[24][25]

Federal Premium[edit]

Hydra-Shok 9mm ammunition from Federal Premium

Federal Cartridge, usually styled Federal Premium, is located in Anoka, Minnesota where it employs roughly 1,000 workers. It was founded in 1922 by Charles Horn. Federal Premium manufactures finished shotshell, centerfire, and rimfire ammunition, as well as powder, primer, and shell casings.[26] Federal Premium introduced its Hydra-Shok line of handgun ammunition in 1988 after the FBI request a bullet with better terminal ballistics than traditional cup-and-core projectiles.[27] Federal Premium manages Vista Outdoor's relationship with the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.[28]

Jimmy Styks[edit]

Kyle Reeves and Jeremy Wilkens founded Jimmy Styks in 2009 in Huntington Beach, California. In July 2015, Vista Outdoor announced its intent to purchase Jimmy Styks for $40 million upfront with additional payments to the founders, who are staying with the company, triggered by meeting financial targets over the next three years. Jimmy Styks makes stand-up paddle boards and accessories. It will be integrated into Vista Outdoor's outdoor products division. This purchase price is multiple of about 5.5 times the expected 2015 calendar year EBITDA.[29]

In January 2016, Vista Outdoor announced that it would use its relationships with retailers to expand the number of stores that offer Jimmy Styks products.[30]

List of brands[edit]

Outdoor products

  • Bee Stinger
  • Bell Sports
  • Blackburn
  • Bollé
  • Bushnell
  • CamelBak
  • Camp Chef
  • CoPilot
  • Cébé
  • Final Approach
  • Giro
  • Gold Tip
  • Jimmy Styks
  • Krash
  • Millett
  • Night Optics
  • Primos Hunting
  • Raskullz
  • Serengeti Eyewear
  • Simmons Optics
  • Tasco
  • Weaver Optics

Shooting sports


Christopher Metz[edit]

Metz was named CEO of Vista Outdoor on October 9, 2017. He is responsible for Vista Outdoor's and its subsidiaries' daily operations. Metz is also a managing partner at Kellwood Company. He served as the CEO and president of Arctic Cat from 2014 to 2017. He was the Managing Director of Sun Capital Partners from 2005 until 2014. Metz worked for Black & Decker from 1992 until 2005 where he held numerous positions in senior management. Metz holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[31]

Mark W. DeYoung[edit]

Mark W. DeYoung was Vista Outdoor's first chairman and CEO. DeYoung retired from Vista Outdoor in July 2017. Independent board member Michael Callahan was acting as interim CEO and chairman as of the same date.[32]

Before heading Vista Outdoor, DeYoung was President and CEO of Alliant Techsystems (ATK) from 2010 to 2015. During his tenure, ATK completed acquisitions of Savage Arms and Bushnell. In 2015, DeYoung led the transaction that spun-off ATK's sporting goods business to create Vista Outdoor and merged ATK's aerospace and defense units with Orbital Sciences forming Orbital ATK. DeYoung previously headed ATK's Armament Systems group, the company's largest business. Under DeYoung, this unit expanded into new markets and increased its revenue from $600 million in fiscal year 2003 to $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2010.[22][33][34][35]

DeYoung started his career with Hercules Aerospace in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1985. He held numerous management positions at Hercules in its solid rocket motor and composite structures businesses. After Hercules was acquired by ATK in 1995, DeYoung continued to advance and held roles in finance, operations, composite structures, human resources, and munitions. DeYoung earned an undergraduate degree in business at Weber State University, in Ogden, Utah. He holds an MBA from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah where he taught management and finance and was named "Adjunct Professor of the Year." DeYoung is also a member of Orbital ATK's board of directors.[34][36]


Vista Outdoor decided to station its headquarters in Utah after the company applied for and received targeted tax credits from the Utah state government. The company thus capitalized on Utah's goal of recruiting global brand businesses from six strategic economic clusters: outdoor products, life sciences, aerospace/defense, financial services, energy, and software/information technology. In its application, Vista Outdoor said it would invest about $10 million in a new facility where about 90 highly-paid employees would work. Counting medical benefits, these employees will be paid about $125 million over a seven-year period. Utah economic development officials expect about $6.7 million in new tax revenue from the project over this period.[37]

Although its corporate headquarters is in Utah, the leadership teams for individual brands will remain in the locations where products are designed and developed.[2][38][39] Vista Outdoor has about 5,800 employees worldwide, with 4,000 in the United States. The company has manufacturing and support facilities spread over 11 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada. It has sales and sourcing operations in Mexico, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.[1][39] For example, 1,200 of Vista Outdoor's employees staff an ammunition factory in Lewiston, Idaho.[40]

In June 2015, Vista announced that it would build its new corporate headquarters at Station Park in Farmington City, Utah. As of June 2015, construction was expected to begin during the summer of the same year with completion expected in the middle of 2016. Station Park is a mixed-use development next to a commuter rail station.[41]

In January 2016, Vista opened a factory in American Fork, Utah to manufacture Gold Tip and Bee Stinger archery products.[42] The new factory is significantly larger than the facility it replaced. The additional space is being used for increased research and development, improved production processes, and better employee amenities.[43]

Vista opened a $35-million ammunition plant in Lewiston, Idaho in 2017. Vista employs over 1,200 people in Lewiston.[44]

2018 boycott[edit]

As part of the 2018 NRA boycott resulting from the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, activists called on retailers to stop selling all Vista Outdoor products specifically over the company's support of the National Rifle Association and manufacturing of assault weapons.[45] Within days, bicycle retailers in Oregon stopped selling all Vista Outdoor products. Some cancelled orders or returned stock.[46][47][48][49][50]

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), with 22 stores across Canada, faced pressure from their members to stop selling Vista Outdoor products because it supports the NRA. MEC carries camping and bike gear from Vista Outdoor. MEC has stopped orders from the Vista Outdoor brands it sells including Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, and Jimmy Styks.[51][49][52][53]

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) announced that they would stop ordering Vista Outdoor products due to Vista's lack of action on reducing gun violence.[54][49][55][56][57][58]

Running Room, a 122-store chain operating in all ten Canadian provinces, said they will cancel orders and stop buying CamelBak products, but would sell remaining stock. They cited customer support for dropping the brand and said their health and fitness focus was incompatible with guns.[59][60][61]


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  16. ^ (Press release). Vista Outdoor. Cision PR Newswire. 9 July 2018 Retrieved 2018-07-11. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  45. ^ "Those brands are owned by Vista Outdoor, which also makes guns and ammunition."
  46. ^’s-affiliation-nra#.WpYUinB6rv4
  47. ^ KOIN 6 (23 February 2018). "Local bike shops boycott company with NRA ties". Retrieved 2 March 2018 – via YouTube.
  48. ^ The same company that manufactures your CoPilot rear-rack child bicycle safety seat also produces the SavageArms MSR 15 Patrol assault rifle"
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  54. ^ "REI statement on relationship with Vista Outdoor". REI Newsroom. Retrieved 2018-05-13. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month. ... we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action
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  56. ^ "REI cuts off key supplier over refusal to take action on guns". Retrieved 2 March 2018.
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  59. ^ "Running Room dumps CamelBak products due to weapons ties - Canadian Running Magazine". Canadian Running Magazine. 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
  60. ^
  61. ^

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