The sporting goods conglomerate maintains it is not ditching brands in response to massive retail boycotts earlier this year.
Months after considering selling his brands of guns and bikes, Vista Outdoor has now reduced its portfolio elsewhere. The Utah-based parent company said it has entered into a deal to sell its Bollé, Cébé and Serengeti sunglasses brands. Bollé also manufactures glasses and helmets for cycling and skiing.
The divestiture follows Vista’s plan, announced this spring, to offload cycling brands Bell, Giro and Blackburn. The company has also previously announced that it is looking to sell its Savage brand of guns. The measures followed massive boycotts by the Vista brand industry following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., In February.
Today’s announcement marks the “first step” of a Vista restructuring described in May. According to Vista CEO Chris Metz, the sale of his eyewear brands to a European private equity fund “will be the first of several potential asset sales that will significantly reduce Vista Outdoor’s leverage and provide us with additional resources to reinvest in our core businesses “.
Vista Outdoor sells eyewear brands and keeps CamelBak
Metz’s comments suggest the brand could follow through on plans to sell its cycling and gun assets. But Vista has also reaffirmed its commitment to some of its other holdings.
In a statement, the brand said its “transformation plan” was designed to “focus resources on further growth” in its core product categories. According to Vista, this includes ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, outdoor cooking products, and hydration bottles and packs.
The latter category contains one of Vista’s most visible exterior brands, CamelBak. And it’s largely the most notable brand to pull off the retail shelves, including stores like REI and MEC in Canada.
Vista Outdoor: boycott and debate
Vista Outdoor has become the target of gun control advocates after a gunman killed 17 people and injured scores of others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
A viral social media post indicated that several brands of leisure equipment – Giro, Camelbak, Bell, Blackburn and Jimmy Styks – were owned by Vista Outdoor. The company also owns Federal Ammunition and Savage, a large shotgun manufacturer that also makes “modern sport rifles” similar to the AR-15 used in the Parkland shooting.
The debate on Vista Outdoor remains heated. Anti-gun consumers blame the brand for supporting the NRA and for making “assault rifles”. Pro-gun consumers note that Vista brands contribute millions of dollars to conservation each year through a federal excise tax.
Today’s announcement marks the first of what Metz has said are new sales.
“We are now turning our efforts to the rest of our divestiture plan, as communicated previously in May,” he said.