Anoka’s Vista Outdoor spending up to $590M for mountain bike gear maker

Anoka-based Vista Outdoor has agreed to acquire Fox Racing, a maker of gear for motocross riders and mountain bikers, in deal that could reach $590 million.

Vista, which announced earlier this year it will be splitting its sporting goods and ammunition brands into two separate companies in 2023, isn’t pausing its aggressive mergers and acquisition strategy to wait until that process is done.

“With the acquisition of Fox Racing, we are continuing the successful implementation of our strategy to use accretive acquisitions to expand our leadership position and ability to capitalize on long-term growth opportunities in outdoor recreation,” said Chris Metz, Vista’s chief executive, in a news release.

This is the eighth acquisition for Vista Outdoor in a little more than two years. It’s also the largest of those deals, which include the nearly $475 million deal for Foresight sports in September.

The initial purchase price for Fox Racing will be $540 million, but that could increase by $50 million depending on the achievement of certain earnings targets.

Privately held Fox Racing Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., makes protective gear and clothing for adventure riders and racers. It generates about $350 million in annual revenue and $55 million in adjusted earnings.

The products should mix well with the existing brands from Vista Outdoor including Bell Helmets, Giro, Blackburn, Krash, Copilot and Raskullz.

Jeffrey McGuane, CEO of Fox Racing, and the company’s other executives will continue to lead the brand after the acquisition.

“Together we can leverage the heritage of our leading brands, enjoy new supply-chain synergies, expand our deep and established channels and target an expanded customer base,” McGuane said in the release.

Vista will finance the deal with new debt. The deal is expected to close by the end of September, and Fox Racing is expected to immediately contribute to Vista’s earnings.

Shares of Vista Outdoor closed Wednesday at $26.94, down nearly 9%.

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