Media reports have lead us to believe that the world-renowned German firearms manufacturer Heckler & Koch may be up for sale. This is not actually the case. In a german news article posted on November 8th, it was announced that Heckler and Koch are set to be acquired by an investor who seeks to take a majority hold of the company. After a clarifying call with our friends at H&K USA, it seems the proposed sale/acquisition would be just an internal change of the distribution shares between current investors. A translation of the full article can be read below.
The heavily indebted arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch is, as it looks, for sale. The company from Oberndorf in Baden-Wuerttemberg stated that they had knowledge of a takeover application to the Federal Ministry of Economics.
It should be an investor who is already involved in the company to a lesser extent and who wants to take over the majority. A change in the previous corporate strategy was not expected, the company emphasized.
So far, Heckler & Koch owns almost two-thirds of the German investor Andreas Heeschen.
The “Focus” reports that the prospective buyer is a conglomerate of companies from different countries such as Barbados, USA, New Zealand, Malta and Luxembourg. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy knew for a year of the takeover project and let check the corporate conglomerate of the Federal Intelligence Service, it says in the report.
Heckler and Koch is widely known across the planet for producing weapons like the HK G36 Rifle, the HK USP handgun and various other arms used by militaries and police forces across the planet.
Obendorf-based Heckler & Koch issued a press release clarifying the news reports (machine translation):
The company comments on the current reporting on H&K AG (“Heckler & Koch before sale to letterbox company”) as follows:
“As a public limited company and thus as the object of an acquisition*, we are not involved in an acquisition process.
In this case, we are aware of the existence of a corresponding application to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.
The applicant is already involved in our company, so that, according to our findings, no change in strategic orientation is to be expected.
We welcome the fact that the acquisition process is being examined intensively by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy in accordance with the law, as provided for in the Foreign Trade Ordinance.”
* An earlier version of this notice stated sale. The technically correct term is acquisition.
The possible confusion of “sale” and “acquisition” rests with the involvement of the German government. Any change in majority ownership, including current investors, requires a review and approval.
Although Heckler & Koch has stated that no change in previous corporate strategy was expected, we can hope for the future. For example, if the new corporate powers decided to release a civilian version of the H&K MP7, I for one, wouldn’t complain. With the civilian market being extremely lucrative – especially in the United States – H&K could turn quite a profit selling civilian versions of their most popular rifles and sub-machine guns.