REI sells Vista’s Giro, Bell, CamelBak, Camp Chef and Blackburn brands. And with two petitions asking REI to stop carrying Vista brands collecting thousands of signatures in a short period, REI has made its landmark move. It decided to suspend all order of Vista Outdoors products.
Canadian co-op peer MEC made a similar move earlier, dealing a blow to the revered bike brands under the Vista umbrella. This follows earlier moves by massive retailers making anti-gun, anti-NRA moves after the recent Parkland, Florida high school shooting where 17 were killed.
Vista Outdoor is a publicly traded company with news and financial information available here at VSTA. They’ve been on a buying spree since 2015, adding to their brand portfolio, purchasing category-leading brands to grow their revenues and market cap.
In July of 2015, they purchased CamelBak for $413 million. In April, 2016, they purchased the action sport brands of BRG Sports for $400 million. And in Sept, 2016, Vista acquired privately owned Camp Chef for $74 million. It’s been a rough go for Vista stockholders though as their stock price has declined from $52 in August 2016 to its most recent price of $16 last week.
Below is the statement from REI on this landmark move.
REI statement on relationship with Vista Outdoor – March 1st, 2018
REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month. In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership.
This week, we have been in active discussions with Vista Outdoor, which has recently acquired several companies that are longtime partners of REI. These include Giro, Bell, CamelBak, Camp Chef and Blackburn. Vista also owns Savage Arms, which manufactures guns including “modern sporting rifles.”
This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.
Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.
Do you agree with this move? Will you continue to support REI? Will you still purchase Bell, Giro, CamelBak, Bolle and Blackburn products?