American Outdoor Brands Corporation announced Wednesday that they intend to split their operation and let S&W stand on its own again.
The historic firearms company, originally founded by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson in 1852, changed its name to AOBC in 2016 after a suggestion from board members that was approved by stockholders. Now, as noted by the company in a press release this week, the current Board of Directors has unanimously approved splitting the company into separate AOBC and S&W entities with the latter focused on firearms. This will allow AOBC to focus on outdoor products and accessories.
Brands under AOBC will include Caldwell, Crimson Trace, Wheeler, Tipton, Frankford Arsenal, Lockdown, BOG, Hooyman, Schrade, Old Timer, Uncle Henry, Imperial, BUBBA, UST, and LaserLyte. Meanwhile, S&W will license brand their accessories through the company as well. James Debney, current President, and CEO of AOBC, will continue in that role.
As for the rebooted S&W, they will include the iconic 167-year old Smith & Wesson and its associated M&P and Performance Center brands as well as Thompson/Center Arms, and Gemtech. Mark Smith, currently the President of the Manufacturing Services Division of AOBC, will become CEO of the newly independent Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.
According to statistics from federal regulators, S&W produced 1,032,450 pistols, 207,384 revolvers, and 265,356 rifles at their Springfield, Massachusetts facility in 2017, the most current data available. This puts Big Blue as one of the largest gun makers in the world.
The split is expected to be completed in the second half of the calendar 2020, subject to final approval by AOBC’s Board of Directors as well as customer regulatory and legal review.
The move is intended to allow each company to have a distinct focus and open up investment opportunities based on a wider investor type.