Alliant Techsystems to buy rifle and shotgun maker Savage Sports

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 13, 2013 - 8:51 PM

Alliant Techsystems Inc. said Monday that it has agreed to acquire a 119-year-old manufacturer of hunting rifles and shotguns for $315 million in cash.

Savage Sports Corp. and parent Caliber Co. have been owned since 2012 by the Minneapolis-based private equity firm Norwest Equity Partners.

The acquisition of Caliber and Savage will be Alliant’s first launch into the manufacturing of hunting rifles and shotguns, spokeswoman Amanda Covington said. Alliant, based in Arlington, Va., has focused on accessories and ammunition in its ATK Sporting Group headquarters in Anoka.

Savage has 600 employees in Westfield, Mass., and Lakefield, Ontario.

“The acquisition will complement ATK’s growing portfolio of leading consumer brands,” said Mark De­Young, Alliant’s CEO.

ATK Sporting Group’s brands include Federal Premium and Estate Cartridge ammunition, Champion clay targets and Outers gun-care products used by law enforcement, the military and sport shooters.

Savage Sports manufactures centerfire and rimfire rifles, shotguns and shooting range systems for hunting as well as competitive and recreational target shooting.

Savage’s firearms are known for accuracy and innovation at a fair price, company spokesman Bill Dermody said in a news release.

Norwest Equity Partners declined to comment on the reasons for the sale until it is final. Revenue for the company was not disclosed by Norwest, but Howard Rubel, an aerospace and defense equity analyst at the Jefferies Group investment firm, ­estimated it at about $200 million.

Rubel said that the acquisition came about because of price and quality. “It’s a highly regarded, long-standing name that is well-recognized by thoughtful gun buyers,” he said.

The deal is expected to close on or before June 30.

Alliant, formed in 1990 as a Honeywell spinoff and previously based in Edina, has about 2,400 of its 15,000 employees in Minnesota.

The Sporting Group division, which employs about 1,500 people in Anoka and 2,500 in several other states, does not expect any changes in the near future, although no personnel decisions have been made, Covington said.

 

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633

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