On July 27 a notice from Vista Outdoor was made with the news it was purchasing Simms Fishing Products, a major force in the world of fishing clothing, for $192.5 million.
Vista is a $3 billion parent company owning dozens of outdoor firms, including Remington Ammunition, Bushnell, Camelback, plus many more high-end outdoor enterprises.
The Simms-Vista transaction should be finalized in fiscal year 2023.
“Simms is the perfect fit for our diversified portfolio of leading, iconic outdoor brands,” said Chris Metz, Vista Outdoor’s CEO, in a press release. “Simms broadens our core addressable market into the highly attractive fishing category with a premium, innovative brand with significant room for growth.”
Simms – headquartered in Four Corners, near Bozeman, Montana – is one of the world’s best-known brands for fishing waders, clothing, fishing vests, footwear, travel bags, and more.
Simms started in 1980 and was bought by K.C. Walsh in 1993. He expanded the company, growing it into a hundred-million-dollar firm with brand recognition known worldwide.
Simms net sales has increased 15 percent over the last few years, even during the economic stalemate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simms’ expected 2022 revenue is $110 million.
“We are thrilled to be joining the Vista Outdoor family of brands,” says Walsh. “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’ 170 Bozeman-based employees will remain, as will the company’s core management team. Walsh will stay on as a strategic advisor and conservation and government affairs advocate for the company.
Being located in the heart of Montana’s outdoor and trout country in Bozeman has been an important part of Simms success, says Walsh.
“Being so close to world-class rivers, wide open spaces and so many professional guides has informed our product leadership over the years, and helped us attract the most talented employees in the sport fishing business,” he told the Bozeman Chronicle.
Vista’s new Outdoor Products Company also will be headquartered in Bozeman, with Simms now part of the parent firm.
“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,” says Walsh. “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.”
Vista’s Metz is excited about the Simms company purchase and opening the Outdoor Products division in Bozeman.
“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,” he said.