Simms Fishing Products, one of the most iconic brands in the fly fishing industry, will be sold to outdoor conglomerate Vista Outdoors. According to a recent release from Simms' new parent company, the two brands have entered into a definitive agreement for Vista Outdoors to acquire the Bozeman, Montana manufacturer of waders, wading boots, and countless other fishing products for $192.5 million. Vista Outdoors' portfolio includes popular outdoor brands such as Camelbak, Bell, Giro, Bushnell, and Remington firearms.
Founded in 1980 and acquired in 1993 by longtime owner and current Executive Chairman K.C. Walsh, Simms has grown into one of the fishing industry's largest brands, posting annual revenues in excess of $100 million.
"Simms is the perfect fit for our diversified portfolio of leading, iconic outdoor brands," said Chris Metz, Vista Outdoor CEO in a release. "Simms broadens our core addressable market into the highly attractive fishing category with a premium, innovative brand with significant room for growth. Simms will be a central plank in our long-term growth strategy and will be the anchor of our new fishing platform within Outdoor Products. Fishing, particularly fly fishing where Simms has its roots, is a natural adjacency to our Outdoor Products business and Simms serves an enthusiast consumer demographic that has proven to be largely recession-resistant over time. With a beloved, household name brand like Simms leading the way, we believe that we can create a fishing platform that serves the 55 million+ anglers while delivering long-term growth and value for our shareholders for years to come."
What's next for Simms is largely unknown, but its Minnesota-based parent has announced it plans to keep Simms in Bozeman. Additionally, Vista Outdoors, who recently announced that it is splitting its portfolio brands into two distinct segments — one for outdoor products and one for sporting products — has indicated that it plans to headquarters its new outdoor products division in Bozeman, as well.
What's more, for the time being, it appears most of the company's leadership will remain on board. Current CEO Casey Sheahan will continue to lead day-to-day operations and Walsh will stay on as a strategic advisor and conservation and government affairs advocate. Vista also noted that it intends to retain Simms' current management team and existing employee base, which is no doubt good news for Simms 170 Bozeman-based employees.
"Simms Fishing Products has become the most exciting brand in sport fishing, driving product innovation with our award-winning apparel, outerwear, footwear, and accessories," said Walsh. "Through our high-performance products, we encourage anglers to spend more time on the water—while advocating for healthy fisheries, responsible use, and clean water. We are thrilled to be joining the Vista Outdoor family of brands. It is hard to imagine a better partner for Simms."