July 28, 2022
An agreement was announced on Wednesday for Vista Outdoor to purchase fly-fishing industry titan Simms Fishing Products for $192.5 million. Vista is the parent company of 39 outdoors-related brands, including Bushnell, CamelBak, and Remington Ammunition.
“We are thrilled to be joining the Vista Outdoor family of brands,” Simms Executive Chairman and former owner K.C. Walsh said in a Vista press release. “It is hard to imagine a better partner for Simms. Vista Outdoor is committed to helping us build continued momentum through operational expertise, access to growth capital and their Supply Chain and Digital Centers of Excellence.”
Simms is the leading manufacturer of fishing waders, outerwear, footwear and technical apparel. It was founded in 1980 and purchased by Walsh in 1993, who grew it into the hundred-million-dollar company. According to the release, Simms grew net sales by approximately 15 percent from 2019 to 2021 and is expected to grow more in 2022. It’s estimated 2022 revenue is $110 million.
The announcement indicated that the Simms headquarters and manufacturing facility will remain in Bozeman, Montana, and Simms is slated to be included in Vista’s new Outdoor Products Company, which will also be headquartered in Bozeman.
"Simms current Chief Executive Officer Casey Sheahan will continue to lead day-to-day operations of Simms, and Walsh will continue as a strategic advisor and conservation and government affairs advocate," according to Vista's press release. "The current Simms management team and existing employee base also will remain in place."
“The decision to locate the headquarters of the soon-to-be separated Outdoor Products segment in Bozeman made our decision even easier, as it will reinforce Simms' made-in-Montana heritage and strong commitment to our local community," Walsh added. "We are also closely aligned with the Vista Outdoor Foundation's commitment to fish & wildlife conservation and their work with veterans’ groups. Joining Vista Outdoor is an exciting new era for Simms and very positive for our 170 Bozeman-based employees and the thousands of Simms retailers around the globe.”
Simms will become the second Montana-based brand in the Vista Outdoor portfolio. The company in December 2021 acquired Bozeman-based backcountry hunting apparel and gear brand Stone Glacier. Another Vista Outdoor brand, Blackhawk, operates a manufacturing facility in Manhattan, Montana.
Simms has long been a supporter of fishing- and community-related causes like fish and river conservation, veterans' well-being, and public lands and access. Some of their contributions include supporting Warriors and Quiet Waters for many years and funding Trout Unlimited's Home Water Initiative on Montana's Gallatin River.
Vista Outdoor also makes contributions to outdoor conservation and access issues. The Vista Outdoor Foundation, formed in 2021, allows the company to make donations to causes that it and its customers believe in. Stone Glacier and Blackhawk made a sizeable donation to Park County relief efforts following the recent historic floods in the southwestern part of the state.
The full press release is available here.