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Posted: 5/14/2001 9:38:12 AM EDT
British Owner Sells Smith & Wesson to Arizona Company Monday, May 14, 2001 SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Smith & Wesson Corp., a manufacturer of handguns since 1852, has been sold by its British owner to Saf-T-Hammer Corp., a firearm safety and security device developer. Saf-T-Hammer, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., announced the agreement Monday with Tomkins PLC, which has owned Springfield-based Smith & Wesson since 1987. "We're excited about the prospects afforded by this unique union of a firearm safety and security device developer and a firearm manufacturer that is synonymous with Americana," said Mitchell Saltz, chairman of Saf-T-Hammer. Smith & Wesson, once America's leading producer of handguns, has struggled in recent years with the sharp decline in the U.S. handgun market and the burden of lawsuits brought against the industry by 32 cities and other governments. In March 2000, Smith & Wesson agreed to install safety locks on all its guns and adopt other safety features and marketing changes. In return, federal, state and local agencies agreed to drop the company from their lawsuits. Gun rights supporters accused Smith & Wesson of selling out. Some vowed to boycott the company. Smith & Wesson's sales were cut roughly in half, according to Ken Jorgensen, the gunmaker's marketing director. Under the sale agreement, Saf-T-Hammer will pay $15 million in cash, with $5 million paid upon closing and the balance due in May 2002. As of the close, the privately held Smith & Wesson's total assets were approximately $97 million, which includes two manufacturing facilities, Saf-T-Hammer said in a release. Total liabilities were approximately $53 million, which includes a 10-year note payable to Tomkins for $30 million due in May 2011. From www.foxnews.com
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