Daily News: January 25, 2012

Norwest Equity Partners Invests in Savage Sports


Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a middle-market investment firm, announced that it has made a significant investment in Savage Sports Corporation, a provider of outdoor sportsman products. NEP invested alongside Savage management in this transaction, which closed on January 24, 2012. Wells Fargo Securities and Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as co-lead agents for the senior financing, and Norwest Mezzanine Partners provided the mezzanine financing for this transaction.

Operating under the brand names of Savage Arms, Savage Range Systems and BowTech Archery, the company designs, manufactures and markets a broad range of rifles, shotguns, archery and range systems primarily used for hunting, competitive and recreational target shooting.

The Savage Arms brand was first established in the late nineteenth century by Arthur Savage and since then has expanded into a portfolio of well-known, market leading brands that also include Stevens and Fox. The company has also earned a reputation for manufacturing quality products for accuracy, innovation, value and superior American craftsmanship.

Savage is led by CEO Ron Coburn, a 31-year industry veteran who joined the company in 1988. NEP was first introduced to Coburn eight years ago when Norwest Mezzanine Partners (NMP), NEP’s affiliated mezzanine fund, made an investment in support of Long Point Capital, a middle-market equity fund that led a recapitalization of the business in September 2004.

Erik Torgerson, a NEP partner and senior advisor, stated, “Savage is an industry leading, best-in-class company. Our investment will help advance global market expansion and the continued development of an innovative, diversified products platform. The company operates within a fragmented industry, and there is significant opportunity for consolidation through add-on acquisitions in both existing and adjacent market categories. Under the leadership of Ron Coburn and his accomplished management team, Savage is well-positioned to continue to expand and exceed its growth objectives.” Torgerson and Tim DeVries, a NEP managing general partner, have joined the Savage board of directors.

Coburn stated, “This new investment partnership with NEP marks an exciting time for Savage. On behalf of our management team and employees, we look forward to working with the NEP team, exploring new business opportunities and advancing our business potential together.”

Robert W. Baird & Co. advised Savage Sports Corporation and Long Point Capital on the transaction. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal counsel to NEP, and Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to Savage Sports Corporation.