Smith & Wesson wants its name changed

Smith & Wesson wants its name changedSmith & Wesson Holding Corp., maker of handguns carried by Civil War soldiers and Clint Eastwood’s 1970s police character Dirty Harry, asked shareholders for permission to change its name, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The board already approved a new moniker for the 164-year-old company starting January 1: American Outdoor Brands Corp. Investors will vote on the change at a Decembeer 13 meeting, Smith & Wesson said in a statement Monday. The change only affects the holding company, not the brand name of its guns.

The iconic manufacturer, founded by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson in 1852, won fame for producing one of the first successful revolver-style pistols popular in the West. While about 90 percent of its sales are generated from firearms, Smith & Wesson has expanded to four units that include non-weapon products such as flashlights and Hooyman tree saws.

“We intend to aggressively grow organically and through strategic acquisitions, focusing on brands and products that best meet the needs and lifestyle of our target consumers,” Chief Executive Officer James Debney said in the statement.

The company said last week it will acquire the business of Ultimate Survival Technologies, a maker of all-weather fire starters and camp-kitchen gear, for $32.3 million in cash.

The firearms unit will continue to operate as Smith & Wesson Corp. and sell under that brand name, the company said in a filing. The new name will help differentiate the holding company from the gun subsidiary, the Springfield, Massachusetts-based manufacturer said.

“Changing our name is not intended to diminish the importance of the Smith & Wesson brand in our portfolio,” the company said in a regulatory filing.

“Rather, our new name will represent a broader and more inclusive platform from which to expand into the shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor markets,” it added.
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