A company that owns dozens of major sporting and outdoor recreation brands, including CamelBak, Bushnell and Remington Ammunition, announced last month that it plans to purchase Simms Fishing Products, based in Bozeman, Montana.
Vista Outdoor — the parent company of more than three dozen well-known sporting and outdoor recreation brands — has agreed to buy the lead fishing gear and apparel manufacturer for $192.5 million. It anticipates it will close the transaction in fiscal year 2023.
“Simms is the perfect fit for our diversified portfolio of leading, iconic outdoor brands,” said Chris Metz, Vista Outdoor’s CEO, in a news release. “Simms broadens our core addressable market into the highly attractive fishing category with a premium, innovative brand with significant room for growth.”
Headquartered in Four Corners, Simms Fishing Products was founded in 1980. After K.C. Walsh acquired the company in 1993, it developed into a lead manufacturer for fly-fishing apparel, renowned for its signature waders, footwear and outerwear.
The management team at Simms and its existing employee base will remain in place, and the company’s CEO Casey Sheahan will continue to lead the company’s day-to-day operations, according to the release.
Walsh will continue to serve as a strategic advisor and conservation and government affairs advocate for the company. Simms is poised to be the second Bozeman-based brand acquired by Vista Outdoor.
This May, Vista Outdoor announced that it plans to separate its Outdoor Products and Sporting Products segments into two independent companies by 2023. It plans to headquarter its Outdoor Products company in Bozeman.
Metz said that Simms will be a central plank in Vista Outdoor’s long-term growth strategy, and it will be the anchor of the parent company’s new fishing platform within its Outdoor Products business.
“Fishing, particularly fly fishing where Simms has its roots, is a natural adjacency to our Outdoor Products business and Simms serves an enthusiast consumer demographic that has proven to be largely recession-resistant over time,” Metz said.
“With a beloved, household name brand like Simms leading the way, we believe that we can create a fishing platform that serves the 55 million-plus anglers while delivering long term growth and value for our shareholders for years to come,” he said.
Walsh said in the press release that Simms is proud to join the Vista Outdoor family of brands, and it is proud that its legacy as a Bozeman-based brand will be bolstered under new ownership.
“Vista Outdoor values Montana and all that Simms stands for. Our leadership team, employees and culture will remain intact as we become the first fishing brand in the Vista Outdoor portfolio,” he said. “And now, with the backing of this $3 billion-plus outdoor recreation company, we are primed for further success and growth over the long-term.”
Metz said in the release that Simms is the right cultural fit for Vista Outdoor and its upcoming Outdoor Products company, and expanding conservation and access to natural waters are a core mission for leaders and employees for both companies.
“We share this passion for conserving the places where we hunt, fish, hike and recreate, and we look forward to applying this shared ethic to lands and waters across the globe,” he said.