When the winning bidders for the major business lines of what was once the Remington Outdoor Company became known last month, most of the acquirers were quite familiar to the gun community. Companies like Ruger, Palmetto State Armory, Vista Outdoor, Sierra Bullets, Franklin Armory and Sportsman’s Warehouse are well known and trusted names.
Unlike the Cerberus Capital wrecking crew who looked at America’s oldest gun maker and the other well-known brands it acquired as a finance play and eventually drove the company into the ground under a crushing debt load, the acquirers have successful track records producing popular, reliable products that are favorites of consumers. No one expects anything but good things to happen, for instance, under Ruger’s stewardship of Marlin or Sierra’s marriage with Barnes Bullets.
But one of the successful bidders — the Roundhill Group, LLC — was something of a mystery. There were all kinds of rumors and wild speculation about who they were and why this unknown group had bought the Remington branded firearms business. A few even feverishly wondered if it was actually a stealth move by Michael Bloomberg to buy up the remains of a gunmaker on the cheap and shut it down.
This was Remington, after all. America’s oldest gun maker. They’ve been at it for over two centuries. That’s the name behind some of the best-known and most-loved guns ever made like the 870 and 1100 shotguns and the Model 700 rifle. People wondered…does anyone at Roundhill know the first thing about firearms?
Then Roundhill issued a press release:
“As is known, Roundhill Group LLC and a group of experienced firearms manufacturing and hunting industry professionals are in the process of purchasing Remington Firearms. Our intent with this acquisition is to return the company to its traditional place as an iconic American hunting brand. We intend to maintain, care for and nurture the brand and all of the dedicated employees who have crafted these products over the years for outdoorsmen and women both here in the USA and abroad. More than anything, we want to make Remington a household name that is spoken with pride.”
That sounded good, anyway. But who exactly are these guys?
Earlier this week, we talked with Jeff Edwards, one of the Roundhill partners and the group’s public face who told us that the Roundhill guys have years of experience in product design and engineering in the firearms and outdoor space. Edwards has been at places like Easton, Hoyt, Defiance Machine and Gunbroker. His partners have similar experience working with a variety of industry names you know and Roundhill is currently working with companies like Blackwater and Polymer 80.
Edwards told us that Roundhill is a well-funded group of gun of shooters and outdoor enthusiasts who want to see the iconic Remington name restored to one of trust again. Makers of quality products that gun buyers can be confident in after years of ownership and mismanagement by pencil-necked finance types with no grounding in the gun business.
In short, he says he wants the people at Remington — some of whom have been there for decades, people who know how to make good guns — to stop having to manage around a bunch of dumb ideas handed down from above. He just wants them to make good guns again.
Edwards and Roundhill intend to keep the people at Remington who know how to make guns and let them do exactly that. Roundhill wants to act as a traditional board of directors, letting management do what they know how to do best…build quality firearms for America’s hunting and sport shooters. And they want to let them do that without meddling from above in day-to-day operations.
Edwards says Roundhill is well fixed for capital with no bank debt. That alone will be a big change for Big Green. And they intend to keep producing firearms in Ilion, New York, where the company has been operating since 1816.
Roundhill is due to close on the deal on Monday and Edwards told us he wants to get the Ilion workforce back from furlough and turning out firearms again just as fast at they can get all of the paperwork completed with the ATF. They’ll keep the Sturgis, South Dakota and Lenoir City, Tennessee facilities, too, and they’re in discussions with the city of Huntsville to maintain that newer production facility as well.
In short, he wants to make sure that Remington’s people — finally, once again — have the resources and tools to do their job and make guns again the right way, the way that sustained them for generations and that earned the brand the trust of millions of gun buyers. When I asked him if there was a message he’d like to convey to the gun-buying public Edwards declined. He said he doesn’t want Roundhill or Remington to talk, he just wants them to do.
Finally, Edwards also said America’s oldest gun maker will be good corporate citizens again and strong supporters of the Second Amendment.
In short, Edwards and Roundhill want to make Remington great again (our words, not his). If Roundhill can do that — if they restore Big Green and their venerable products to the place of pride they once enjoyed — that will be a big plus for America’s gun-buyers and for the industry as a whole.