See more of the story

Vista Outdoor has received an unsolicited bid from a new shareholder to acquire the Anoka-based company, adding a new twist to existing plans to split its two main business segments.

Czech company Colt CZ announced last week it wants to acquire all of Vista Outdoor for $30 a share, or about $2.6 billion including debt.

Vista announced the bid last Wednesday after the stock market closed with Vista's shares priced at $25.75 a share.

In May 2022, Vista Outdoor had announced plans to split its outdoor product unit and its sporting products business, which mainly included Federal and other ammunition brands, into two separate public companies.

The company had named leaders and chosen names for the new companies. Revelyst would be the outdoor products company, which would likely be based in Montana and led by Eric Nyman. The Kinetic Group would be the ammunition company, which would stay based in Anoka and led by Jason Vanderbrink.

They were headed for a split by the end of 2024, but during the process the Vista Outdoor board continued to evaluate several other alternatives.

On Oct. 16, Vista changed course, announcing a deal to sell its ammunition brands including Anoka-based Federal as well as Remington, Speer, CCI and others to another Czech company, Czechoslovak Group (CSG). The plan for Revelyst to be publicly traded remained the same.

As part of that deal, Vista Outdoor had agreed to customary "no-shop" agreements, meaning it could not solicit new bids.

But in a statement issued last week, the Vista Outdoor board said it received and would review the unsolicited bid from Colt CZ to buy both Vista businesses. The board also said it still supports the CSG acquisition deal.

Colt CZ makes ammunition, firearms, tactical equipment and accessories for the military and law enforcement as well as hunting and self-defense. Its parent company recently acquired 2.4% of Vista's shares and has grown through acquisitions the past few years.

In 2021, the organization acquired Connecticut-based Colt Holding Co. and its subsidiaries that make firearms in the U.S. and Canada. Today, Colt CZ's parent company has about 2,000 employees in the Czech Republic, U.S., Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and Hungary.

Eric Wold, an analyst who follows Vista Outdoor for B. Riley Securities, wrote in a research note last week that plans to keep Vista as a whole would continue to constrain the valuation of the businesses.

"The proposed combination with Colt CZ Group is inferior to the current plan to sell the sporting products segment to Czechoslovak Group and keep the outdoor products segment as a standalone public company," Wold wrote. "We prefer that the board rejects this offer."

A deal with either Czech company would require meeting federal regulatory approvals.

That includes an OK by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Last year, the Biden Administration issued an executive order for CFIUS that added new national security risks to consider when reviewing foreign investments.