Vista Outdoor acquires Simms Fishing

Vista Outdoor Inc, the parent company of 39 renowned sporting and outdoor brands is buying premium tackle brand Simms Fishing Products for a purchase price of $192.5 million.

As part of the deal, Vista Outdoor will separate its sporting and outdoor products divisions and headquarter the latter in Bozeman, Montana, where Simms designs and manufactures its waders, outerwear, footwear and technical apparel.

Simms was founded in 1980 and acquired in 1993 by K.C. Walsh, its current executive chairman, who has worked hard to create an iconic brand committed to fisheries conservation.

It has a reputation for highly innovative fishing gear and apparel, kitting out more than 8,500 Simms-sponsored fishing professionals and distributed through specialty retail stores around the world.

Chris Metz, Vista Outdoor CEO, explained: “Simms is the perfect fit for our diversified portfolio of leading, iconic outdoor brands. It broadens our core addressable market into the highly attractive fishing category with a premium, innovative brand with significant room for growth.

“Simms will be 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.

“Equally important, Simms is the right cultural fit for Vista Outdoor and our soon-to-be-formed Outdoor Products company. Expanding conservation and access to natural waters are a core mission for the leaders and employees of Simms, just as they are for Vista Outdoor. We share this passion for conserving the places where we hunt, fish, hike and recreate, and we look forward to applying this shared ethic to lands and waters across the globe.”

K.C Walsh said: “Simms Fishing Products has become the most exciting brand in sport fishing, driving product innovation with our award-winning apparel, outerwear, footwear, and accessories.

“Through our high-performance products, we encourage anglers to spend more time on the water – while advocating for healthy fisheries, responsible use and clean water.

“We are thrilled to be joining the Vista Outdoor family of brands. 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.

“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.

“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.”

Current Simms CEO Casey Sheahan will continue to lead day-to-day operations of Simms and K.C. Walsh will continue as a strategic advisor and conservation and government affairs advocate. The current Simms management team and existing employee base also will remain in place.