GSM Outdoors’ owner explores sale of hunting gear maker, sources say

By Thomson Reuters May 9, 2024 | 11:51 AM

By Abigail Summerville

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The private equity owner of Good Sportsman Marketing Outdoors is exploring a sale of the hunting and fishing gear maker that could value it at about $1.5 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

Irving, Texas-based GSM, which is owned by Gridiron Capital, is working with investment bank R. W. Baird to gauge interest from potential buyers that include other private equity firms, the sources said, requesting anonymity as the discussions are confidential.

Gridiron, which acquired GSM from Sentinel Capital Partners in 2020, is expecting to command a valuation for GSM equivalent to more than 10 times the company’s 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about $140 million, the sources said.

Some potential bidders for GSM have expressed concerns about investing in a business that has an impact on wildlife and hinges on gun safety, deeming it an environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risk, the sources said.

On its website, Gridiron said conservation of the environment is “central to GSM’s mission to preserve and protect wildlife heritage for generations to come.” It added that GSM’s ESG mission is to equip its customers “to explore the outdoors, connect with nature and fellow enthusiasts and create unforgettable family experiences.”

Baird declined to comment. Gridiron and GSM did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

GSM sells more than 40 brands in hunting & fishing gear and accessories, and has grown through acquisitions. Last week, GSM acquired fishing rod maker Dobyns Rods.

The company operates several hunting brands such as electronic ear muffs maker Walker’s, Cold Steel knives, and surveillance equipment maker Stealth Cam. GSM sells its products through brick-and-mortar retailers and online channels.

(Reporting by Abigail Summerville in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)