Battenfeld to Acquire UST

Battenfeld

Battenfled Technologies will be acquiring Ultimate Survival Technologies (aka UST Brands) for about $32 million plus an additional $2 million based on performance during the next two years.

UST Brands is a company that sells a variety of outdoor and survival products like pre-packaged survival kits, camp stoves and flashlights. UST Brand products sell in major retailers from Academy Sports to Walmart. Battenfeld Technologies, owner of brands like Caldwell, Wheeler and Tipton, is itself part of the Outdoor Products & Accessories division of Smith & Wesson.

The acquisition is another sign that Smith & Wesson is diversifying away from the firearms industry. Recently, Smith & Wesson acquired a pocket knife company through BTI Tools, which is a subsidiary of Battenfeld Technologies. Battenfeld also acquired PowerTech, a flashlight company, this year. According to Smith & Wesson’s president and CEO, James Debney:

“We are very excited to announce the acquisition of UST Brands.  With its complete offering of survival gear, UST Brands is our first acquisition that is entirely focused on the outdoor market, which is a key part of our vision to become the leading provider of quality products for the shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiast.

I highly doubt that Smith & Wesson has any serious plans of jumping out of gun making. However, it is clear that the company no longer wants to keep all of its eggs in that basket. The acquisition is likely seen as complimentary with a built in hedge against a downturn in the firearms market.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


Advertisement

  • Major Tom

    For a moment there I read this article’s title as “Battlefield to Acquire USP”.

  • Rick O’Shay

    UST products are sold at Walmart and Academy for a reason: they’re not exactly high quality. Between this and the quality of the knives I’m seeing the S&W logo popping up on, this isn’t really inspiring a whole lot of confidence in the direction S&W is headed. It smacks a bit of Freedom Group.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Don’t use that F-word around here!

    • Richie

      Being sold at Walmart is not synonymous with poor quality, they also sell Mobil1 oil and Dickies socks. I will agree that some (maybe a lot) of UST products are not high quality, buy I am a big fan of their starflash signal mirror, which is super lightweight compared to others (they even have one that floats), and their waterproof notebook, which is made up of polyester film instead of paper, making the sheets completely water and tear proof

      • Rick O’Shay

        You’re right, being sold at Walmart isn’t automatically synonymous with poor quality. BUT… people shop at Walmart because a) it’s cheap and b) they carry everything. I want my survival/camping gear to be of high quality and reliable. There might be a few gems that fit the bill in the aisles of Walmart, but let’s be honest: they’re far and few between.

  • Lou

    Here is what to expect on the umbrella acquisition company business trend that is racing through the gun industry:

    Marketing & Product Development VPs, Directors and Managers will be cut in order to eliminate “duplication” (at the order of the bean counters), at every one of the companies the umbrella company acquires in favor of one VP of Marketing who will “handle” all marketing, branding, advertising, product development, etc. across all lines which results in:

    1) destruction of the brand identity
    2) reduction in “skus” or variety of models offered
    3) homogenization of advertising concepts which will further stagnate sales
    4) mistakes and misjudgements on company direction and focus

    They may also place people in charge who came from other industries and have no real gun or gun industry business experience – non-“gun guys”). Look at the once great brands some with over 100 years of rich firearm history now marginalized into stagnation: Stevens, Harrington & Richardson, Butler Creek, Marlin, etc.. Once these ‘ Wall Street wonder boys” finish up many of these acquisition projects they try to dump the umbrella company for huge profits when they realize that their corporate reconstruction and lack of firearms industry experience is destroying the companies they acquired.

    This may not occur with S&W as long as they retain each companies’ marketing and business development team but VISTA and Freedom Group have done damage to the brands they acquired.