Aerospace and defense company Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) might be in the final phase of purchasing notable optic-maker Bushnell. According to Reuters, sources have claimed that MidOcean Partners, which owns Bushnell, may be considering selling the company for about $1 billion. Fox Business reports that MidOcean Partners received two other bids for the optics maker, including one from private equity firm KKR and an unnamed outdoors company. Sources say that the move to sell the company is not motivated by pressure brought about by the ongoing gun control debate.
Shortly after the Newtown tragedy, Cerberus Capital Management announced it would be selling its shares in the Freedom Group, a well-known group of firearm manufacturers including Remington Arms and Bushmaster. At the time, Cerberus denied taking a position in the gun debate saying simply that they were investors and “not statesmen or policy makers.” However, just before the decision Cerebus discovered that one of its investors, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), was considering pulling out of the private equity firm because CalSTRS did not want to be associated with gun makers. Likewise, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York and New York City Employee’s Retirement System sold their shares in ATK earlier this year. The industry giant, however, prospered in 2013 due partly to a high demand for firearms and related products.
Sources tell Reuters that the deal has not been finalized and could still be subject to change.
Bushnell was founded in 1948 by David P. Bushnell and focused chiefly on binoculars at the time. Eventually the company graduated to producing spotting scopes, rangefinders, rifle scopes, and other outdoor equipment. It is now well-respected as a leading producer of quality optics.