Breaking News: ATK to Buy Bushnell

Reuters has broken the news that Alliant Techsystems (ATK), the owner of Weaver optics and mounts, is in talks to purchase scope and accessory maker Bushnell. Bushnell is said to be valued at around $1 billion. The company is currently owned by the private equity firm MidOcean Partners. Reuters reports

The people asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. They cautioned that a deal has not yet been finalized and negotiations could still fall apart.

MidOcean Partners and Bushnell declined to comment, while ATK did not respond to a request for comment.

Bushnell hired Morgan Stanley and Robert W. Baird to shop the company, other people familiar with the matter told Reuters in February.

Founded in 1948, Overland Park, Kansas-based Bushnell makes accessories such as binoculars, telescopes, night vision equipment and GPS devices for sports like hunting and fishing. Its brands include Butler Creek, Final Approach, Hoppe’s, Millett, Night Optics, Primos, Simmons, Stoney Point, Tasco and Uncle Mike’s.

ATK is best known for manufacturing ammunition for the consumer, law enforcement and military markets. They own Federal Premium, CCI, Fusion, Speer Ammo, Speer Bullets, Estate Cartridge and Blazer brands. They produce reloading equipment under the RCBS brand and smokeless power under the Alliant Powder brand. In 2010 ATK purchased Blackhawk! and earlier this year they purchased Savage Arms.

The industry consolidation continues …

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • floppyscience

    Huh… I had no idea Bushnell owned Butler Creek, Hoppe’s and Uncle Mike’s.

    At least it wasn’t Freedom Group. ATK knows that it’s doing and isn’t just in the business for a quick buck at the expense of ruining once-great brands.

    • True enough–this time it’s a good thing

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Freedom Group’s owners are trying to dump it because of Sandy Hook.

      • floppyscience

        True, but they’re dumping it in one piece instead of selling the brands back to people who care, right? I hope Freedom Group at least straightens itself out once they’re free from Cerberus.

  • Lance

    Question is will Bushnell have crappy Weaver quality to it now??

    • floppyscience

      Different brands are made to different standards, as evidenced by Bushnell’s own self-branded product line and their lower-priced Tasco line. I think quality will remain the same once ATK takes over.

  • Aaron E

    ATK’s has made one more step to becoming a full service, one-stop firearms corporation. They now have multiple ammunition lines, a well respected reloading brand, and a gun powder brand.
    Blackhawk gives them many of the desired accessories and clothing items shooters want to use. Savage is their entry into actual firearms, and produces some really nice rifles. Now they acquire an optics brand with some lubricants, hunting supplies, and scope accessories.
    About the only thing left is a handgun maker, and an AR-15 maker, and I would not be surprised at all to hear about those acquisitions in the next year or two. What do you say? Maybe Kimber and LMT?
    I just hope they don’t try to mess with the Bushnell brand. Bushnell produces some really nice glass, at a decent mid range price. Don’t fix what isn’t broke!

    • DanO

      They wont break what isn’t already broken. This is just another piece of an allignment strategy within their sporting goods branch. Quality can only improve under ATK.

  • Limonata

    I hope they infuse Savage with some money to really update their rimfire line. The Savage 64 should be redone from the ground up. At the same time, there are some others like the Savage 11 they should not touch.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    I honestly hope that all your sentiments will pan out. I’m not sure why Lance is so critical of Weaver products — apart from the fact that it is probably based on his own experiences, and I respect his opinion — but for what it’s worth I’ve always had very good results with them.

    To their credit, ATK has so far maintained the overall standard of quality of their subsidiaries’ products, which says a great deal as it appears to indicate their interest in long-term sustainability. It is most unfortunate that Freedom Group has not done the same under the Cerberus banner. Also, did anyone ever stop to consider the visage and history of Cerberus in Greek mythology? The choice of the name might pertain to a different intended image, designed specifically to communicate a certain positive intent to hungry Wall Street investors, but the behaviour of Cerberus — and, by proxy, its investors — has been nothing short of irresponsible. Almost every move they have made appears to have been based largely on the premise of short-term gains at the expense of long-term viability ( and everything this implies for investors, owners, workers and all others alike ), with absolutely no regard for little else outside of immediate profits. Both tangible ( long-term stability, productivity and progressive profit margins ) and intangible ( team effort, career stability, the solid foundations of a workable tradition, retention of skills, worker morale, etc. ) factors that have long since proven to go hand-in-hand for a healthy and sustainable industry seem to have been thrown away for the sake of making some extra dollars right now.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    @ DiverEngrSL17K :

    Per my previous post, before anyone thinks me as being too harsh, I will give the Freedom Group ( and, by extension, Cerberus ) all due credit in at least maintaining the existing level of quality in many of their subsidiaries’ products, eg., Remington shotgun ammunition, certain Remington rifles, etc. Balanced against this is the fact that the quality of other marques under their umbrella has discernibly gone down, eg., Marlin firearms, while the real price ( allowing for inflation and other factors ) has either stayed the same or gone up, and at great cost to a skilled and loyal work force ( check out the factory closures and other “consolidations” ). I have nothing against making an honest dollar for profit, but there is a finite limit beyond which the bounds of reason have been usurped by avarice and lack of empathy.