vista outdoor

Vista Outdoor will look to sell off Bell, Giro, Blackburn

by on May 1st, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Vista Outdoor Inc has just announced a “strategic business transformation plan” that includes seeking buyers for popular bike brands Bell, Giro, and Blackburn.

The move comes just over two months after the company came under severe scrutiny in the bike and outdoor industries for its financial support of the National Rifle Association and its distribution of assault-style weapons.
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REI puts ‘hold’ on Vista brands while CamelBak, Giro and others defend themselves

by on March 2nd, 2018 at 9:54 am

Pressure on Vista Outdoor Inc. has ramped up in the past week.

Last Friday we reported that several local bike shops decided to stop selling products from CamelBak, Bell Sports, Giro, Blackburn, Raskullz and CoPilot following revelations that their parent company — Vista Outdoor Inc. — has close ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and also owns brands that sell gun products and ammunition.

A lot has happened since then.
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Local bike shops come to terms with their industry’s ties to the NRA

by on February 23rd, 2018 at 12:01 pm

(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“We will no longer purchase products from companies owned by Vista Outdoors. We will be donating proceeds from the remaining inventory we have of Giro helmets to Everytown for Gun Safety.”
— Leah Benson, Gladys Bikes

Revelations this week that several major bicycle brands are owned by Vista Outdoor — one of America’s largest sellers of assault weapon ammunition and accessories, and a staunch supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) — has sent shockwaves through the Portland bike scene.

We’ve heard from several readers who now plan to boycott products from Bell Sports, Giro, Blackburn Design, CamelBak, Raskullz, and Copilot. But for bike shop owners who sell helmets, racks, packs and child seats, the issue is much more complicated. Some say they’ll boycott the brands until ties to the NRA are severed, others say they’ll steer clear of them in the future, and one was in such a moral quandary, they asked to remain anonymous.

Immediately after our story posted we heard from several Portland shops who said they’ll boycott all Vista Outdoor brands.

Clever Cycles, who doesn’t currently sell any Vista Outdoor products, wrote on Twitter that it’s, “Terrible to hear that a company pedaling child seats and safety equipment is also supporting an industry of terror,” and, “We are proud to not carry any products that @VistaOutdoorInc distributes.” Go By Bike owner Kiel Johnson shared that, “We won’t sell those brands either!” Mel Birgé who owns Recumbent PDX says, “I would never knowingly sell products from a weapons manufacturer. We didn’t sell Bell, Giro or Blackburn and now we won’t start.”
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Corporate ties to assault rifles and NRA spark boycotts of Giro, Bell, CamelBak and Blackburn

by on February 21st, 2018 at 9:25 am

Last night Aaron Naparstek shared via a Twitter thread that Vista Outdoor — parent company of many well-known bicycle product brands like CamelBak, Giro, Bell, CoPilot, and Blackburn — also owns brands that sell assault weapons and ammunition. Moreover, the company is a proud supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Vista Outdoor and Action Sports Logos (PRNewsFoto/Vista Outdoor Inc.)

Given the current tenor and seriousness around the gun control issue, the news has spread quickly in cycling circles with some people calling for a boycott.

And the facts check out.

Vista Outdoor owns 50 different brands. Their core business is their “shooting sports” division. Rifles, rifle accessories, and ammunition make up over 75 percent of their revenue, which is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2018. One stock analyst said Vista is the largest seller of ammunition in America with 40 percent of the total market.

The company rode what Mother Jones referred to as “the Barack boom” in firearm sales, capitalizing on people who feared Obama and Democrats would severely restrict gun rights. And Vista’s sales soared after high-profile mass shootings with profits skyrocketing from $10 to $64 million the year after Sandy Hook.

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(Graphic via Seeking Alpha)

In early 2015 Vista was hailed as the, “biggest company in the outdoor recreation sector,” by the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine. But in the past few years they’ve purchased several non-gun-related brands in a bid to diversify their business.

In July 2015 they bought CamelBak for $412.5 million. Then in February 2016 they purchased Bell, Giro and Blackburn for $400 million. By early 2017 however, the company’s revenue began to decline. In the first quarter of that year overall sales went down 5 percent and their stock sank nearly 30 percent. Shooting division sales plunged nearly 20 percent and the company laid off 57 employees. Why? Their CEO blamed the election of Donald Trump and the lack of fear from Democratic rule.

By November of last year Vista saw a 13 percent decrease in revenue and announced plans to sell the Bollé brand, because their CEO said it was, “not core to our business.” Now Vista’s stock is in freefall with shares falling 62 percent in 2017.

With their shooting sports business hurting badly, Naparstek thinks boycotting their bike-related brands “could really hurt them.” Several of our friends on Twitter have said they will, reluctantly, stop buying Vista-owned brands completely.

“I own products from several of these brands and I’ll continue to use them,” said Portlander Andy Kutansky, “but I’ll take a hard look when it’s time to replace – and I urge everyone to do the same.”

UPDATE: Please see our follow-up post to this story where we asked local bike shops what they think about Vista Outdoor and calls for a boycott.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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