Daisy Outdoor Products, a cornerstone business in Rogers, has a new owner. The historic BB gun maker was acquired by Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. (BRS), a private equity firm in New York that also owns Gamo Outdoor, a global manufacturer of airguns and other accessories and archery products.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Other shareholders of BRS Outdoor Sports include Frist Capital, Bixby Bridge Capital, Swift River Investments and Quilvest Private Equity.
Ray Hobbs stepped down as president of Daisy as part of the terms of this deal. Keith Higginbotham, the president of Gamo Outdoor, will assume those duties and combine the two roles, according to Joe Murfin, corporate spokesman for Daisy. He said Higginbotham will oversee both companies and look for synergies as they try to grow the business. Murfin said Gamo guns are made in Spain and distributed in the U.S. and globally.
“We cannot begin to express the excitement we feel with the addition of Daisy to our family of shooting and outdoor brands,” Higginbotham said in the release. “We believe this is a great combination as Gamo is deeply rooted in the outdoors, Daisy is a part of Americana and we both share a passion for the shooting sports.”
Industry wide the air gun and airsoft gun manufacturing sector has annual revenue of $306 million, and experienced relatively flat growth rate of 0.8% from 2011 to 2016, according IBISWorld Research.
Stephen Sherrill, co-founder and managing director of BRS, said, the company looks forward to “strengthening the Daisy’s position in the youth market.
“We are very pleased for BRS Outdoor Sports and Gamo to be involved with the next chapter of growth for Daisy. We are excited for the future, with a vision to grow both the Daisy brand and recreational shooting,” Sherrill stated in the release.
DAISY HISTORY IN ROGERS
Daisy has been part of the Rogers business community since it moved there in 1958 to set up a small BB gun manufacturing center with iconic brands such as the Daisy Red Ryder. The company celebrated its 130 year anniversary in March, having begun in 1886 as an invention of Clarence Hamilton, a watchmaker and inventor from Plymouth, Mich., who also set up an air rifle company in Plymouth. Hamilton took his air rifle design to a windmill factory in Plymouth and they began making the guns. The Daisy Museum in Rogers notes that the air rifles became so popular that the the company closed the windmill production and concentrated on making the guns.
Daisy operates its distribution center and corporate offices in Rogers, while most of its guns are manufactured abroad, according to Murfin. He told Talk Business & Politics that the local company employs about 65 workers and ramps up to 100 or more during hunting season and the Christmas holidays. He said the same seasonal workers return year after year for their 90-day assignment.
Murfin, who also chronicled the company’s history in a book sold at the company’s museum in downtown Rogers, said Daisy has been owned by several other equity partners over the years, but this is the first time the investors also own another air gun company.
“There is very little duplication in the SKUs (stock-keeping items) between these two companies — Gamo and Daisy. Gamo Outdoor products cater to adults with a wide range of air rifles used for hunting and target shooting. Our guns are for youth and young adults. Most kids took their first shot with a Daisy,” Murfin said.
He said having a combination of two strong brands the company can span the entire market and increase its product section to customers across the board. Murfin said another benefit to Daisy from the merger is the Gamo presence abroad. He expects Daisy will be introduced in new global markets in the months ahead. Murfin said BRS had been eyeing Daisy because they saw the possibility of bringing Gamo and Daisy together under single management as a way to gain greater market share worldwide.
Raymond Burns, CEO of the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce, said he grew up with Daisy as his mom worked for the company for more than 30 years.
“I was a Daisy brat and spent a lot of time there as a kid. The company has been owned by various private equity firms through the years and we really don’t see anything unusual about this deal. We look forward to having a strong relationship with Daisy for years to come,” Burns told Talk Business & Politics.