Vista Outdoor to Buy Simms Fishing for $192.5M
Simms’ product line includes fishing bags, waders, and footwear. Simms Fishing Products

Vista Outdoor to Buy Simms Fishing for $192.5M

The fishing equipment maker will be folded into Vista’s outdoor products company.
Simms’ product line includes fishing bags, waders, and footwear. Simms Fishing Products

Just weeks after announcing a plan to purchase outdoor recreation company Fox Racing, Anoka-based Vista Outdoor Inc. has lined up another multimillion-dollar acquisition.

On Wednesday, Vista announced that it will purchase fishing equipment maker Simms Fishing Products for $192.5 million. The two companies reached an agreement on the transaction on July 22. The deal is slated to close in the third quarter of this year. Simms’ product line includes waders, footwear, jackets, and fishing packs.

In a news release, Vista Outdoor CEO Christ Metz said that Simms will become a “central plank in our long-term growth strategy and will be the anchor of our new fishing platform within Outdoor Products.”

“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.

This year, Simms is expected to generate $110 million in sales, according to Vista. For its part, Vista reported total net sales of $802.6 million in its first fiscal quarter alone, which ended June 26.

As part of a separate plan announced in May, Vista will soon split into two companies, with one focused on outdoor products and the other handling ammunition. The new outdoor products company will be headquartered in Bozeman, Montana — the same place where Simms is currently headquartered — while the ammunition business will be based in Anoka.

“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,” said Simms executive chairman K.C. Walsh in the release.

As part of the purchase agreement, Simms’ current CEO Casey Sheahan will remain on board and continue to lead day-to-day operations for the fishing company. Walsh, meanwhile, will serve as a “strategic advisor and conservation and government affairs advocate,” according to the release.

The terms of the agreement also state that Vista may decide to fund the transaction with debt financing. The agreement still requires approval from the regulatory authorities.