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Apparently struggling since emerging from bankruptcy in 2016, Colt has likely drawn the eye of potential buyers ever since. Now, thanks to CZ (Česká zbrojovka) parent company CZ Group’s public filings, we know it is attempting to purchase all of Colt’s Manufacturing Company‘s assets and is well along in this process.

Colt rampant pony logo

Translated from an article in major German newspaper, Die Welt:

CZ is planning the complete takeover of the world-famous US company Colt – including its Canadian subsidiary. To this end, after research by WELT AM SONNTAG, a declaration of intent was signed. A spokeswoman for CZ Ceská Zbrojovka confirmed the plan in principle to the newspaper.

Since CZ Group became a public company in mid-2020, listed on the Prague Stock Exchange, we can see in the company’s own corporate filings that it’s deep in due diligence and negotiations for a potential purchase of Colt. In fact, the parties expect to wrap up the deal this month (bold text below added):

…further to our previous disclosure with respect to the Letter of Intent dated November 5, 2020 for the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding equity interest in Colt Holding Company LLC (“Colt”), CZG hereby informs that it has agreed with Colt on the extension of the exclusivity period to complete its due diligence until the end of January 2021.

The parties have reached an agreement in principle on key commercial parameters of the transaction and they continue discussing the technical parameters, regulatory review requirements, and legal terms and conditions of the transaction.

Execution of the definitive documentation for the transaction is estimated to take place by the end of January 2021, subject to completing the negotiations, finalizing the transaction documentation, and obtaining necessary approvals of the relevant stakeholders.

TTAG reached out for comment from the principals, but both parties referred us to the public filing linked and quoted above. We’ll bring you more details as we get them.

 

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84 COMMENTS

      • The CZ shotguns are nice. Turkey makes more shotguns than any other country and, just like guns made in the U.S., quality varies significantly. CZ’s shotgun line also varies in price point and fit/finish quality, but the shotguns with their name on it are good quality and are designed by CZ and contract manufactured in Turkey to CZ’s prints/specs/etc and meet CZ’s quality standards. They are not Turkish-made and -designed guns that are rebranded by various importers like so many other Turkish shotguns are. I’ve shot a lot of CZ shotguns and they’re well-made (appropriately well-made, that is, given the price point and market placement of any given model in their line).

        • Jeremy I appreciate your experience. I am speaking from what I have seen personally. I’m not sure about their over and unders, but I have seen a 712 semi and a 612 pump fail on kids shooting trap in the same week. So my experience with the only 3 I have handled or been around has been 2/3 negative. I would like to be able to give one of their double barrels a chance in the future.

        • I am not a proficient trap shooter by any means, but I love my CZ Redhead Target that is made by Huglu. For the money, its a darn nice over /under. Even the trap snobs at the gun club always want to try it for a round…

      • If you’re referring to shotguns marketed by “Weatherby” or “Tri Star” I don’t think you’ve had much actual hands-on experience with them. I’ve been shooting preserve pheasants over my pointers for a few years now with a little Tri Star Viper in 28 ga and it’s gobbled up everything I’ve run through it including some very light reloads with no issues as to feeding. The fit and finish inside and out is very good and the wood, while finished with a shiny bright finish that I dislike, is excellent as compared to many other shotguns in the same price range. (BTW- ever price 28 ga shotguns lately?) I’ve also run quite a few rounds through a pistol-gripped 12 ga home defense model with no problems other than it’s a bit light weight. I have to admit that for the price it would be hard to beat unless one expected it to last a lifetime tossing 3″ buckshot loads.

        You don’t describe the “failures” on the kids trap range you claim to experience. When I was first starting out I at trap shooting around 1971 using a Win M12 trap, I was always amazed at the guys constantly having to kick open their Rem 1100s all jammed up on the line and thought them to be a POS. Of course most of the problems were due to the low grade reloads their owners were feeding them. Back then only the “elite” could.would afford to use new shells. On the other hand, the kid’s clays program at Bemidji Trap and Skeet, where I shoot during the summer, has something like 175 kids active and many of them are using these shotguns, often in camo, and I’ve not seen failures there.

        If your real bias against Turkish shotguns is that they are not American made or due to the nature of the Turk government and politics, that’s another thing, and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. The fit, finish and reliability of these guns, however, in my experience, is excellent.

        • The 712 would not eject (maybe a failed extractor) and the 612 had an issue with the action bar. The club has/had 2 712 one was working fine this both were fairly new I was keeping score this round and another club member cleared the chamber then retrieved the kid a loaner 1100. The 612 was the kids personal shotgun I can’t say for sure he didn’t break it, since I didn’t get a chance to exam the parts what I can say is that I watched one of the action bar pieces hit the concrete at his feet, probably a heat treat issue but I didn’t have a chance to see for myself since I was spectating that group. If you notice my 2nd comment I said I would be willing to try a double barrel. I was specific as to pump and semi. My best pump action shotgun was a Chinese 870 clone, so I am not being a gun snob. I like CZ pistols, I would like to eventually buy a CZ bolt action rifle, but with other options I will not buy a pump or semi auto shotgun with a CZ label.

        • I agree . I have a CZ Mallard over/under in 20 gauge . And I can say this ,this gun is one of the best guns I have spent money on . Love it ,and its never let me down . Its is of great quality that compares with others or more .

    • That’s nothing but pathetic if Colt couldn’t figure out a way to make a ton of money in the current market. I hate the thought of another iconic American brand being lost to foreigners, particularly one that has been around almost 170 years, but as others have noted, CZ would be a far superior custodian than some group of greedy corporate raiders.

      • Colt hasn’t made a good product since the 70s, they did this to themselves. Everything they currently sell is over priced nostalgia fuel garbage. CZ might actually do some good with the name

      • Colt decided it wasn’t worth competing in the general public AR-15 market that they started. Their guns commanded s premium based on their name. They couldn’t compete against budget brands, but the panic buying took care of that, and they could have gotten back into the market.

  1. How sad. It has been a long time since I owned a Colt product. If CZ does it right, Colt may survive. If not, a legend will be lost.

    • Sub-optimal, but at least Colt is being picked up by a gun maker that cares about making a good product. It’s a way better option than being sold off to a holding company that’ll strip them for assets and sell the brand off piece by piece ‘Freedom Group’ style.

  2. I remember back in the early ’00’s that CZ and Colt worked together on a very short-lived project. The Colt Z-40 and CZ 40-B. Colt was in one of it’s usual crisis’ and the program lasted a very short while.

  3. When was the last time Colt was innovative or offered something that was in high demand? Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to have a new Python. It’s just that it’s at the bottom of the priority list. Porsche had to sell SUV’s in order to survive and continue to make sports cars. Why didn’t Colt cater to the modern conceal carry market?

    • Colts products are in extremely high demand. They have back orders for every product they make. There’s no inventory sitting around. Demand is so high that, for many of their products, guns are retailing higher than their msrp.

        • Completely agree there. Not the first time this has happened in Colt’s history. They have made some truly bone-headed decisions.

        • “Oh okay. It’s wild how they couldn’t figure out how to turn super high demand into a profit.”

          That requires a long-term expensive investment in training personnel.

          If CZ has an gun-making apprenticeship program in the Czech Republic, perhaps they will ‘transplant’ that and make the investment in the US. I fear that probably won’t work, since the work ethic in the US is not known for stick-to-it-ivness…

        • It is not the “work ethic”, it is the CEOs bowing to the stockholders and always looking for quick ‘short term” money instead of designing and manufacturing a quality line of products.

          When you say “work ethic”, you paint the workers as lazy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. American labor has always been at the top of output and quality control per hour worked than the rest of the world.

          It is management and government control that have stymied production in the U.S.

        • “When you say “work ethic”, you paint the workers as lazy.”

          No, I didn’t, I said they lack stick-to-it-ivness. An apprenticeship system has them working for a number of years doing relatively menial things at low wages while building base skills. American youth wants the good money fast. I don’t think American workers will adapt to a true apprenticeship training program like they have at Holland and Holland in London and the other fine gunmakers in Europe.

          Screw it – Let’s ask Dyspeptic –

          DG, do you *ever* see an apprenticeship program ever take root at a major maker in the US? I know there are very small shops that do it, but nothing at scale…

      • Yes, but what they offer doesn’t sell in high volume. Sure, they sell their 1911s and the new Snake Guns—but how many?

        They have never been competitive in the duty sized 9mm market, and they’ve abandoned the CCW market except for Commander and Officer’s 1911s.

        • A lot of that was the equity group that owns Colt not wanting to drop cash in r&d, instead preferring to milk the govt contracts for everything they were worth and letting established models sell on the name alone…equity groups try to squeeze every cent out of a company without putting anything back into it!

    • 6-inch sucks, balance is wrong. 4-inch for the win! Had both, sold 2 6-inch and bought 2 more 4-inch. Python freak since 1961.

      • What about 8 inch? I love the front-end heaviness of my Royal Blue one I bought new in ’81. For shots beyond 50 yards, it’s hard to beat for a wheel gun.

      • If I were CZ, the first thing I’d do at the end of this buyout is to give all the folks at Dan Wesson Colt badges, and use those newly-gained IP rights to start offering Dan Wesson products with that Colt roll-mark on them.

  4. Works for me as I’m a CZ fan boy (nah, way too freaking old and cantakerous, but have… shit…five of their rifles and three pistols). Huge believer in their quality and business saavy. Could be the best thing for Colt in the past 100 years.

    • CZ has been making quality guns from the start. They have been knocked off all over the world. The Czechs are great designers, machinists and production engineers. Their motorcycles were great even in the middle of the cold war, flat track and off road motorcycling would be much different without these models.

  5. Could be interesting. CZ-USA could be getting HUGE!

    Colt could be getting an influx of talent and compassion for design and quality.

    Time will tell

  6. I had no idea CZ was big enough to do this. Good for them, since they’re the only seriously sized gun company to actively say repeal the NFA.

    • I don’t think a company needs to be very large to buy out Colt. They might just need some capital and a good buisness plan, but I am not in the know with corporate dealings.

      Worst case I can see is Colt doing such a good job sinking they take CZ with them.

  7. Finally, a company with some business sense is going to run Colt. Colt may be the only company that went bankrupt twice during the two biggest surges in firearms purchasing in the history of the world. That is some seriously poor management!

    • Well since you put it like that……lol. Seriously you are 100% correct, how do you not make profits when you are literally selling every gun you make and have back orders? It’s been a long time coming for colt but the hand writing was on the wall a long time ago for this. This would be like Tyson Foods going bankrupt during a famine. It makes no sense, but is an absolute testament of colts poor marketing and mismanagement.

    • IBM bankrupted their networking hardware division while dozens of billion dollar networking companies were grown in the glory-days of the internet explosion.

      Never under estimate the ineptitude of entreched fossilized corporate executives.

      • I liked my MKII Series 90 Combat Commander enough to carry it open strongside in the gun store I managed for several years. Had 100% confidence in that pistol. Sincerely wish I still had it.

  8. This is great news. As a resident of CT I have several friends who have worked for Colt over the years. Including one recently retired veteran of 40 years.

    ALL OF THEM describe a company that is deeply disfunctional and generally screwed up. Its a company that has missed huge market opportunities while upper management treated the company like their own personal ATM.

    The sad thing is Colt may leave hartford. One thing that I don’t see is if this is just the colt that makes the civilian guns or also includes Colt that makes guns for the military. They were held as 2 companies for decades, but I vaguely remember them being merged back into one company.

    • Have a blue Trooper MKIII with a seldom seen 8 inch barrel (’78). It’s a great gun. That Colt Royal Blue is just awesome.

  9. Love CZ. Have more than a few, for twenty years at least. Never an issue.
    CZ has new US manufacturing facilities, first thing I’d do is move Colt manufacturing there. Better politics for one.

    This is as good news as Ruger buying Marlin.

  10. The only way this is a good news if CZ manages to boot out both the management and the union. Otherwise CZ will be as screwed as Colt.

  11. The writer misleadingly describes CZ as “attempting to purchase all of Colt’s Manufacturing Company‘s assets and is well along in this process.” The writer then contradicts himself, by quoting CZ, “…the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding equity interest in Colt Holding Company LLC”

    Asset purchase is a different transaction than buying equity, especially following a statement about bankruptcy. Minds will incorrectly think Chapter 7 (liquidation). Obviously to those familiar with finance, i.e. if they came out of bankruptcy, it was not Chapter 7, but not to those who are not.

    • Yes, apologies for the confusion. The equity is in Colt Holding, which is the company that owns Colt Manufacturing, which is the company that owns Colt’s tangible and intangible assets. CZUB is looking to outright purchase everything that is Colt and is owned by Colt by buying Colt Holding. This has nothing to do with Colt’s latest chapter 11 BK, which wrapped up in Jan 2016, and Colt is not being liquidated or anything.

  12. We’ll probably see Colt reduced to just making Revolvers and AR-15 Rifles, but who knows…….we could finally see reasonably priced, double-stack M1911’s from the (first) Company that should’ve been making them since the Mid-1980’s (Lookin’ at you, Colt…….SMH).

    Looks like if this goes through, Dan Wesson won’t be making Revolvers anymore again……………..

    • Ceská Zbrojovka is a great company with great products that started out with the disadvantage of initially being in a Communist country. The reason the CZ-75 Sp-01 is so copied and are so cheap is that it is a brilliant design that was not patented as Communists didn’t do patents. Having been in a country that threw off Communism or, at least, part of one and become so successful starting without patents to protect their intellectual property speaks volumes for CZs business acumen and, I expect, their ability to restore an iconic brand like Colt. They have, after all, done well with Dan Wesson.

      I am yet another CZ fan, who, if I had discovered their handguns sooner, would have owned far fewer handguns in my lifetime. Their rifles are equally as impressive as is their ability to get the very best products from Huglu, the Turkish shotgun manufacturer of all with the CZ brand and sell them at very reasonable prices.

  13. I’d love to see CZ have some fun with Colt Canada’s monopoly status for Canadian small arms sales. Refuse to sell them any longarm with a barrel of less than 470mms in length or handgun a barrel length of less than 105mm.

  14. I knew this day would come, but I was hoping that the buyer would be Beretta. This way Uberti, makers of excellent Colt SAA replicas (they made Colt’s Colt replicas) could sell their guns with a genuine Colt stallion. Still, CZ taking over is not the worst outcome. Beats Cerberus.

  15. Colt has made some major improvements in manufacturing, but its not enough to save the company. One thing that the Czech Republic is known for is efficient manufacturing – lots of good products are made in the Czech Republic. I am a made in the USA guy, but I also own a ton of CZ handguns as IMHO, they make the best semi auto pistols that aren’t 1911s. Like with Dan Wesson, they will stabilize Colt and we can enjoy the Python and others for a long time. CZ has top notch customer service and this will also help Colt as consumers give Colt’s customer service mixed reviews. It’s sad Colt couldn’t make it on its own, but I was hoping that either CZ or Ruger would save them…

  16. Hopefully they can get out of the massive labor contracts Colt had agreed to in the past. That’s the number 1 thing keeping Colt from being more competitive with brands like Ruger and S&W, at least that’s what the Colt sales guys have said.

    • If CZ is buying the holding company, that usually involves only the assets of the company and not the business operations…if that makes sense. It sheds the buyers of a lot of previous management’s obligations and liabilities…Colt Manufacturing will likely still exist (for a short time) afterwards, they just won’t have any assets. The new owner is then free to incorporate the acquired assets under a new name.

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