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Vista Outdoor Acquires Brand ‘For Hunters, By Hunters’

Vista Outdoor Inc., a global designer, manufacturer and marketer of products in the outdoor sports, hunting, shooting and recreation markets, has acquired Stone Glacier, which produces premium ultra lightweight, performance hunting gear for backcountry enthusiasts.

The deal enables Vista Outdoor to enter the packs, camping equipment and technical apparel categories, and complement its current camping products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

“I am excited to welcome the Stone Glacier team into the Vista Outdoor family,” Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz said in a statement. “Stone Glacier is an enthusiast brand that is fast-growing, well-managed and a great cultural fit. Our centers of excellence, brand portfolio and distribution network will support Stone Glacier as they reach their next level of awareness, maturity and growth. Stone Glacier enhances our ability to enter and leverage the camping category, which has exploded in popularity over recent years. The acquisition also further bolsters our reputation as the acquirer of choice in the outdoor industry.”

Founded in 2012 by Kurt Racicot as a brand that is “by hunters, for hunters,” the Bozeman, Mont.-based Stone Glacier designs and manufactures lightweight, durable gear.

Alongside its hunting frames and backpacks, Stone Glacier sells apparel for all terrains and climates, including base layer merino crew shirts and pant bottoms, mid-layer hoodies and pant bottoms, insulation such as fleece jackets, and down jackets and pants. Its outerwear consists of various jackets and pants, namely the M7 Jacket, which is infused with the waterproof, breathable soft-shell HydraShield SS textile. HydraShield SS technology is designed to prevent rain and snow from passing through a hunter’s body while transporting water vapors from sweat to the exterior of the textile during high exertion activities.

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The brand also sells more traditional apparel such as T-shirts, hats, beanies, sweatshirts and socks.

Stone Glacier and its array of merchandise is one of seven brands that has been brought into the Vista Outdoor fold over a 16-month stretch. It previously acquired ammunition and hunting firearms manufacturers Remington and Hevi-Shot, hunting-inspired fashion brand Venor, electric bike seller QuietKat, golf training technology provider Foresight Sports and heating and grilling pellet fuel producer Fiber Energy Products.

“The future of Stone Glacier is bright. This partnership comes at a great time for our business, and we are excited for the support that Vista Outdoor will provide to accelerate our growth and continue developing industry-leading products,” Stone Glacier president Jeff Sposito said in a statement. “We have been fortunate to build a following of the most dedicated backcountry hunters and it has always been our mission to bring the best products, service and innovations to market. This partnership ensures we will continue to execute on that mission at the highest level.”

Vista Outdoor used cash on hand and available liquidity under its asset-based revolving credit facility to complete the transaction. As of the end of its second quarter on Sept. 26, 2021, the company had $265.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, while it generated free cash flow of $70.5 million. Additionally, the company also had $386 million remaining in its unused credit capacity. Vista expects the Stone Glacier transaction to be immediately accretive to earnings, excluding transaction and transition costs.

In May, Vista unveiled its Value Creation Framework, which included five strategic pillars for growth including talent and culture, organic growth, shared expertise among brands (called “Centers of Excellence”), acquisitions and capital allocation. As part of the framework, the outdoor and hunting business established three-year plans to grow sales 10 percent annually, generate an EBITDA margin of 15 to 20 percent, increase cash flow to more $600 million and grow e-commerce to 25 to 30 percent of total sales.

Second quarter results suggested that the plan is working, with total sales across Vista Outdoors growing 35 percent from last year to $778.5 million, with net income totaling $139.5 million, from $79.6 million the year prior. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased to $191 million from $75 million.

With Stone Glacier in the fold, Vista brings a bigger boost to its Outdoor Products segment, which saw second quarter sales increase 9 percent to $212 million. The company’s other major operating segment, Shooting Sports, saw sales rise 49 percent to $566 million, driven heavily by a 65 percent growth in ammunition which includes the acquisition of Remington and Hevi-Shot. Overall, the Outdoor Products segment represents approximately 27 percent of total sales at Vista.

The Vista Outdoor brand portfolio also includes outdoor labels including CamelBak, Bushnell, Bushnell Golf, Bell Helmets, Camp Chef, Giro, Federal Ammunition, which sell through retailers and distributors across North America and worldwide.

In the November earnings call, Metz said Vista has 10 brands across its portfolio generating over $100 million in annual revenue.