Friday, October 2, 2020

About the Remington Dissolution

I can't claim to be a Remington collector per se, but I have a couple of Remington rifles.  My Nylon 66, the “plastic fantastic” .22LR that was my family's gun when I was 14 and became mine a decade later.  And I have a Remington 700 in .30-06, that I bought during the life of this blog.  Remington bought DPMS after I bought my DPMS LR-308, and ended up buying Marlin after Mrs. Graybeard bought her Marlin 336.  I've written about all of these many times.
But that's not really why I'm here. 
Because I have few Rugers around here, our "his and hers" 10/22s and my Ruger Precision Rifle, I'm on the Ruger mailing list.  I got the email in which they described their portion of the Remington sale, buying the Marlin brand, physical inventory and intellectual property.  DPMS has been sold to JJE Capital, reported to be the parent of Palmetto State Armory.   

 But that's not really why I'm here, either.  

There has been a lot column space devoted to attacking Cerberus and that sort of private equity firm as well.  First I saw was J.Kb down at Gun Free Zone about the immorality and destructiveness of that sort of business.  Today, Peter Grant at Bayou Renaissance Man ran the same basic subject.  

I'm not here to defend them, because I also think the private equity firms that do the things they do are scumbags.  More politely, they're sharks let loose in a pod of bait fish.  However (you knew that was coming!) I'm not here to say private equity firms need to be shut down and never allowed to operate.  Remington management themselves are not without blame.  Remington management, and I mean their management back before 2007 when they were attacked, chummed up the shark by bleeding money in the water.  

I don't know the complete history that led to Cerberus buying Remington, but like sharks and most predators, private equity companies don't chase down the healthiest and most nimble prey.  They prey on the weak.  It's the first duty of a CEO to protect the company.  The balance is that the healthy and excellent companies will get merger and acquisition offers all the time.  It's up to the board of directors and the stockholders (if any) to accept or decline those offers.  Predators like Cerberus prey on companies that need money and don't have anywhere else to get it.  Companies need money urgently, like most of us, when something completely unexpected happens or when a bunch of things we thought we could get by with don't get by.   

If the alternative is to have big government decide which companies can merge, and thereby which companies can exist, that's a much worse scenario than private equity companies taking down the weak.  Managers should know the private equity companies are a threat to their existence and manage their companies to not be targets for them. 

But, hey, what do I know?  I'm just some dood with a blog.  And I observe the world around me.  I've seen companies start, companies fail, and companies last long times.  Just as not everyone can graduate on top of their class, not every manager is above average.  Companies run by better managers do better.  


  1. My dad bought a 'Nylon 66 Apache' in the 1960's which I have now. From a bench rest it will hit inside a 3/4" circle all day at 100 Yards...The best shooting I've ever done. Tex.

    1. You bet! They made over a million of those rifles, but today they're hardly heard of.

      I shouldn't say that. Whenever I bring it to the range, I get trickle of people coming by saying, "hey, that's a Nylon 66! I used to have one" or else it ends with "I still have mine at home."

      The only drawback to it is that it's not as easy to reload with tube as opposed to a magazine you can drop and replace with a loaded one.

  2. A friend who didn't care for guns gave me a 66 about 2 yrs ago, and it was a leaner. As in, leaned up in the corner of the barn the last 25 years, layers of rust. Being the fool I are, it went with me to a small-town gunshow.
    "Whadda ye got?
    "A Sixty-Six."
    "Whuddle ye take fer it?"
    "Aww, a hundred..."
    Make room, so the man can breathe! People trying to shove Benjamins in my shirt pocket.
    We ALL have a "wished I'da..."

  3. I'm just happy to see some of the brands survive dissolution.
    Ruger taking Marlin makes me happy. I have a few Rugers and had a Marlin as a youth and am tempted to get another.

  4. Our company is going through a bankruptcy (auto supplier) and there is a management company that has come in that the brass are saying are not breaking it up. Supposedly a reserve bid in an auction.
    I went through that once before and don't want it to happen again.

    1. I had the fortune to work the last (just under) 20 years of my career for a company that was managed to avoid being acquired. That CEO retired in 2013, I retired in '15, and the company has been through a merger and an acquisition. Twice in three years.

      The big picture is messy, but some of the management or private equity companies are good guys. They're in business to turn companies around, which is always painful for those laid off or cut. If they get the company profitable, it's good for everyone. What Cerberus did to Remington seems like either stupidity, malice or possibly just plain bad luck.

    2. If you read the wiki precis of the last ~20 years of their business, it looks to me to be stupidity with a leavening of bad luck. And, really, the bad luck looks more like them being blind to the onrushing disasters that they should be looking for as astute business people.

  5. If the alternative is to have big government decide which companies can merge, and thereby which companies can exist, that's a much worse scenario than private equity companies taking down the weak.

    Just imagine a government agency crafting regulations to weaken a company to make it a takeover target that needed their approval.

    1. Egg-zactly. You know the odds it would happen are 100%.

  6. We can all agree that the lunkheads who ran Remington off a cliff and into the ground, despite having a barnful of generations-long go-tos like the 870 and Model 700 have a degree of utter ineptitude that cannot be measured with existing instrumentation.

    Ruger (thankfully shed of the handicap of Bill Sr.) taking Marlin literally lock, stock, and barrel off of Remington's hands is thus nothing but good news.

    When Remington bought Marlin, they found a company with gun-making equipment last updated in 1940, if even that recently.
    Ruger taking that model line is now free to make one of the best lever-action rifles, for but one example, in stainless steel, something which was too hard for decrepit Marlin or incompetent Remington to even attempt for most calibers.

    Possessing the Marlin lever-action, and their own single actions, Ruger's market share of the cowboy action arms market, for but one example, is poised to be a giant-killer.
    (If they gobbled up Stoeger coach guns and Winchester Trench gun shotguns as well, they'd hold almost the whole ball of wax except for historical repros.)

    The down side is the likely permanent death of the Marlin Camp Carbine for all time, as Ruger's PC Carbine version slides into that niche. Now if only someone at Ruger can figure out that one in .45 ACP (Glock 21 or M1911 mags - or both - I'm not picky) would be a good next idea, they'd be onto something.