Responding to the shootings in Newtown, MA, Cerberus Capital has announced its intention to sell the Freedom Group, a manufacturer of marketer of firearms and ammunition. Investigating officials have said that it was a Bushmaster assault-style rifle, the civilian version of the military’s M-16, that 20-year-old Adam Lanza used to take the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday morning. The Bushmaster assault-style rifle is manufactured by the Freedom Group.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened by the events that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012,” said Cerberus Capital in a statement. “We cannot comprehend the losses suffered by the families and friends of those killed by the unthinkable crimes committed that day. No words or actions can lessen the enormity of this event or make a dent in the pain that was inflicted on so many.”
In 2006 Cerberus Capital made an investment in Freedom Group. Freedom Group does not sell weapons or ammunition directly to consumers, through gun shows or otherwise. Sales are made only to federally licensed firearms dealers and distributors in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. According to Cerberus Capital, the firm does not believe that Freedom Group or any single company or individual can prevent senseless violence or the illegal use or procurement of firearms and ammunition.
“There are however actions that we as a firm can take. Accordingly, we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group,” said Cerberus Capital. “We will retain a financial advisor to design and execute a process to sell our interests in Freedom Group, and we will then return that capital to our investors. We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities impacted by this tragic and devastating event.”
Freedom Group is a manufacturer of marketer of firearms and ammunition and other products for the hunting, shooting sports, law enforcement and military markets. Brands include Remington, Bushmaster Firearms, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, H&R, The Parker Gun, Mountain Khakis, Advanced Armament Corp., Dakota Arms, Para USA and Barnes Bullets. The company has more than 2,800 employees and is based in Madison, NC (www.freedom-group.com).
“It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level. The debate essentially focuses on the balance between public safety and the scope of the Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment. As a firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers. Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients who are comprised of the pension plans of firemen, teachers, policemen and other municipal workers and unions, endowments, and other institutions and individuals. It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators,” said Cerberus Capital.
Cerberus Capital Management has approximately $20 billion of capital under management and invests in four primary strategies: distressed securities & assets; control and non-control private equity; commercial mid-market lending and real estate-related investments. The firm was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in New York (www.cerberuscapital.com).
© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 12-18-12