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Vista Outdoor acquires two companies, including an e-bike brand

Vista Outdoor, the parent company of CamelBak, Giro, Camp Chef, and others, has acquired e-bike maker QuietKat and the “hunt athleisure” brand Venor, adding to its portfolio of outdoor companies.

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Vista Outdoor Inc. is betting big on the e-bike boom.

The publicly traded company—whose outdoor portfolio includes CamelBak, Bell, Giro, Camp Chef, and others—on Wednesday morning announced it has acquired QuietKat, an Eagle, Colo.-based maker of off-road electric bikes.

Vista announced the news before its virtual Investor Day presentation, where the Anoka, Minn.-based company also said it had acquired Venor, a hunt-inspired female athleisure brand formed five years ago by Angie Erickson and based in Vista’s hometown (the company relocated from Farmington, Utah, in 2018). 

The financial terms of the deals weren’t disclosed, but Vista has high hopes for its newest assets.

“Both of these acquisitions, we believe, are going to be winners for us,” said Vista CEO Chris Metz. 

Read more: Earnings recap: Outdoor businesses return with a vengeance in Q1

QuietKat’s co-founders are twin brothers Jake and Justin Roach. Vista said the company employs approximately 45 people, all of whom are expected to remain with the brand post-acquisition. 

“QuietKat is led by two extremely creative and passionate founders who will continue to lead the company,” Metz said. “E-bikes are arguably the fastest-growing space within all of outdoor products and will continue to grow for many years to come. QuietKat is still small, but they are the share leaders in their space and growing exponentially with unbelievable upside that can benefit from Vista strengths. QuietKat has built the No. 1 share position with a terrific product lineup that’s supported by super creative marketing and customer service. It is also a terrific cultural fit for our company.”

Metz added that QuietKat will serve as a “platform for Vista to grow in the e-bike space.”

Four women sitting on a dock
Venor, a hunting-inspired women’s lifestyle apparel brand, was founded by Angela Erikson. Venor is Latin for “I hunt.” Photo: Courtesy

Vista said the Venor brand is about a lifestyle that’s “anchored in adventure, community, and empowering women to live their best outdoor lives.” Metz said Wednesday morning that Kelly Reisdorf, chief investor relations and communications officer, will expand her role and lead Venor as its general manager.

Vista’s winding mergers and acquisition road

These moves follow a few years of portfolio rightsizing for Vista Outdoor. In the summer of 2018, the company sold its Bollé, Cébé, and Serengeti assets—aka, the “eyewear brands”—to a private equity fund. 

A year later, in July 2019, Vista Outdoor famously, and finally, unloaded its firearms business, Savage Arms. The company had faced the loss of a significant sales channel when REI Co-op and MEC in 2018 announced they would stop selling products from Vista’s outdoor brands as long as the company owned and operated a gun maker. That announcement was in direct response to the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

When Vista sold Savage Arms for $170 million, the company was back in REI’s good graces and has since returned to the co-op’s shelves. (When the divestment happened, Metz denied the move was related to the co-op’s but rather a needed portfolio adjustment due to a host of issues related to the firearms industry.)

Read more: Breaking down the Vista Outdoor boycott

Vista continued to execute its M&A strategy in October 2020 when the company doubled down on its ammunition assets by acquiring certain assets related to Remington Outdoor Co.’s ammunition and accessories businesses for $81.4 million.

After the QuietKat and Venor deals, what’s next? We’ll ask Metz in a Q&A that will be published this week, and we’ll also have in-depth reports on the company’s outdoor brands and its new corporate foundation in the coming days.