Vista Sale Drives Down Stock Price, Ammo Uncertainty Growing

Oct 17, 2023

Vista Outdoors (NYSE: VSTO) announced yesterday it will sell its sporting products group to Czechoslovak Group a.s. (CSG) in an all-cash deal valued at $1.91 billion. Vista says it’s the next part of its plan to split into two entities.

Vista Outdoors’ announcement of the sale of their Sporting Group failed to resonate with Wall Street yesterday. The announcement included word that the company will become known as Revelyst, Inc. when the sale closes in 2024.

The outdoor product group, now known as Revelyst, will reportedly become a standalone public company as soon as the deal closes. That’s expected to happen in 2024. The company, if it remains as-is, will have approximately 4,000 employees in four factories, manufacturing CCI, Federal, HEVI-Shot, Remington and Speer ammunition brands.

So who’s CSG? An international company owned (100%) by Michal Strnad. He has built the company into an international player with more than 10,000 employees spread across the company’s five business segments: defense, aerospace, ammunition, mobility, and business.

Vista Outdoor announced the plans to divide the company into two separate groups, Outdoor Products and Sporting Products in May of 2022. But those plans didn’t mention plans to divest itself of the Sporting Products division. The company’s announcement in 2022, did tout the “industry-leading platform” of non-shooting companies, that include: CamelBak, Bell, Giro, Camp Chef, Bushnell, Bushnell Golf, Foresight Sports, Stone Glacier, and QuietKat.

According to a statement released by Vista’s interim CEO Gary McArthur, the company believed the sale to be “the best path to maximize value for our shareholders, while better positioning the Sporting Products and Outdoor Products for future success.”

Jason Vanderbrink, CEO of the Sporting Products, said he considered CSG a “great home for our leading ammunition brands.” Obviously, he believes that as he’s staying with the division and bringing the following management team: Al Kerfeld, CFO; Jeff Ehrich, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary; and Mark Kowalski, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer. Andy Keegan, currently vice president and interim CFO of Vista Outdoor, plans to join Revelyst as CFO.

The company’s headquarters will remain in Anoka, Minnesota.

Immediately following the closing, Vista Outdoor’s Outdoor Products business will become Revelyst, Inc. and trade on the NYSE under the symbol GEAR. The name, in case you’re wondering, is one of those kluged-together combinations of two words: revel- to experience with abandon, and catalyst an “unwavering source of transformation.” The company’s logo will be a dragonfly.

The Sporting Products segment was placed at 5x enterprise value , based off Sporting Products’ Fiscal Year 2024 EBITDA.

Current shareholders of Vista Outdoor will receive shares of Revelyst and approximately $750 million in cash in the aggregate.

Vista Outdoors stockholders reacted strongly to the announcement (along with news that the company was lowering its 2024 revenue forecasts due to “tight consumer spending on its big-ticket items in the face of higher inflation rates”), quickly sending the stock tumbling from the opening of $32.80 to $25.52, a drop of more than twenty-two percent.

Vista closed the day at $25.02, down $7.78 (23.71%) on the day.


Not everyone got our updates yesterday concerning apparently growing uncertainty about ammunition supplies in light of military actions worldwide.

An explosion last Friday at a Hornady facility in Wood River, Nebraska added to the uncertainty. In that accident, one worker, 32-year old Adrianna Alvarez of Grand Isle, Nebraska, was killed and two others injured.

Very little information was available after initial reports of a “blast” at the facility, but officials now report that the explosion was accidental, occurring during the mixing process of a primer compound.

“We’re devastated for our employee, their family and loved ones,” Jason Hornady told me. “We’re hurting along with the entire Hornady team.”

“We are working with all agencies to investigate the cause,” he continued, “but this incident was isolated to our primer facility and did not impact any of our manufacturing facilities.”

He also asked that we let everyone who has reached out to Hornady know how much they appreciate the messages as “we grieve the loss of one of our own.”

While Jason Hornady’s update assuages any immediate concerns as to availability of Hornady ammunition, we’re still receiving reports from around the country of “runs” on ammo.

Yesterday, Outdoor Wire Espanol Editor Raul Mas discovered the first tangible online indicator that appear to verify those reported spot shortages. a Stillwater, Oklahoma, ammo retailer, says it’s currently “only accepting orders for a very small selection of products, and all other products have been temporarily removed from the website.”

According to their note, the temporary removals are entirely due to a backlog of “over 10,000 orders.” According to SGA’s posted statement, the backlog represents three to five days of work for their warehouse crews to “pick, check, pack and ship.”

In-stock orders, they caution purchasers, may be available for purchase, but may take as many as seven days to ship.

Spot checks around the country and with online sellers seems to verify that others are also suffering from shortages in what we consider the “top tier” military calibers.

Apparently, the uncertainties regarding sustained availability of military calibers due to continued hostilities in the Ukraine and Israel’s impending movement of ground troops into Gaza are fueling the latest run in consumer demand.

At this point, we’re told the buying is “precautionary” on the part of concerned consumers rather than any inventory shortages. Distributors I’ve spoken with in the past 24 hours have assured me that while demand has spiked, sufficient supply already exists in the supply chain.

That, like most things today it seems, is always subject to change.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

— Jim Shepherd