Smith & Wesson Holding officially changed its name to American Outdoor Brands (AOB) in 2016. At the time it owned 18 different firms specializing in outdoor equipment.
In 2019 the AOB board of directors approved the firm splitting into two separate corporations—Smith & Wesson Brands and American Outdoor Brands. The firearm-manufacturing companies would be part of the former, with outdoor products and accessory firms joining the latter.
“There have been significant changes in the political climate as well as the economic, investing, and insurance markets since we embarked upon what we believe have been our very successful diversification efforts,” said Barry M. Monheit, AOB chairman of the board at the time. “We believe that separating into two independent public companies will allow each company to better align its strategic objectives with its capital allocation priorities. We also believe that this action will give the investment community clearer insight into the value creation potential in each of these independent companies, ultimately driving enhanced stockholder value.”
The press release explained the purpose of the spin-off is to enable the management team of each firm to focus on its specific strategies, including (1) structuring its business to take advantage of growth opportunities in its specific markets; (2) tailoring its business operation and financial model to its specific long-term strategies; and, (3) aligning its external financial resources, such as stock, access to markets, credit, and insurance factors, with its particular type of business.
The separation officially took place on Aug. 24, 2020. Today the companies that are part of the AOB family of brands include BOG, Bubba, Caldwell, Crimson Trace, Frankford Arsenal, Grilla Grills, Hooyman, Imperial, LaserLyte, Lockdown, M&P by Smith & Wesson, Meat Your Maker, Old Timer, Performance Center by Smith & Wesson, Schrade, Smith & Wesson, Thompson Center, Tipton, Uncle Henry, UST Gear and Wheeler. Despite the licensed products, AOB makes or sells no firearms.
Based in Boone County, MO, AOB is, however, home to some of the outdoor industry’s legends. Many remain under the Battenfeld Technologies group, which Smith & Wesson Holding purchased in early 2015.