Native American Tribe May Make Bid on Colt

   07.06.15

Last month Colt, the iconic 160-year-old gun maker, filed for bankruptcy and began considering plans to put itself up for sale. While the company’s future is still uncertain, an unexpected party has appeared with an offer to help: the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in California.

Tribal attorney Drew Ryce told the press last week that the tribe is looking to assist Colt during its difficult time and that if the company should decide on a turnaround plan, the Morongo will help sponsor the gun maker as it moves past bankruptcy. On the other hand, if Colt does decide to sell, the Morongo are also interested in making a bid. According to Ryce, the decision is not entirely for business reasons either.

“Colt is an iconic business and we’re sort of intensely interested in helping a business like that,” Ryce told Reuters. “Colt is the Gun that won the West. We are the West.”

Ryce went on to describe Colt as a deeply American company and that the tribe has an interest in preserving it. If Colt needs money, the Morongo tribe has it—quite a lot, in fact. The Wall Street Journal reported that the band is among the largest of tribal business conglomerates, and owns the $250 million Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, its own water bottling plant in partnership with Nestle, and fruit orchards.

Acquiring Colt, which is based in Connecticut, would allow the tribe to diversify its investments. As a bonus, the tribe would also qualify as a minority bidder when it comes to seeking government contracts, something that Colt has historically relied on heavily. In fact, many observers have pointed out that Colt is in its current position due specifically to the loss of those contracts, so any advantages in winning them back could be very important for the new Colt after its relaunch.

“All we know is that the company failed and we don’t want that to happen. It’s an iconic American company. It shouldn’t fail. It shouldn’t go away,” Ryce told the Wall Street Journal.

Colt representatives did not comment on the band’s offer of aid. The company is currently undergoing chapter 11 proceedings and will be seeking to remain open throughout the process.

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