Private equity giant Cerberus Capital Management has announced that it will be selling its investments in Freedom Group, an American holding company that includes well-known brands such as Bushmaster and Remington Arms.
The decision was in part caused by pressure from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which stated it was reviewing its $700 million investment in Cerberus on Monday. The firm now intends to sell its shares in Freedom Group immediately and return the capital to investors. Cerberus does not attribute its actions as taking a position in the gun control debate, saying in a statement that:
It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level. As a Firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers. Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients…It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators. There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take.
This announcement comes directly on the heels of a Connecticut school shooting which left 27 dead including the gunman, many of the victims children. According to Reuters, the AR-15 rifle used in the attack was manufactured by Bushmaster, which has been owned by Cerberus since 2006.
Founded in the early 1990s by Steven Feinberg and his partner William Richter, Cerberus eventually acquired and consolidated a number of firearm manufacturing companies under the Freedom Group banner. Not the least of these is Remington Arms, one of the oldest and most respected gun makers in the country.