Smith & Wesson to Change Its Name

Smith & Wesson to Change Its Name
Smith & Wesson will likely change its corporate name next month.web photo

In a corporate sense, the name Smith & Wesson will be no more after 164 years of business. The gun maker is changing its company name to American Outdoors Brands, according to this story from CNNMoney and an SEC filing released Monday.

The story says the move is a surprise in the financial world, just as it is in the gun world, considering S&W is such a well-known brand. With company's quarterly sales up 40 percent in September, the gun maker will ask its shareholders to approve the move next month, according to this story from The Wall Street Journal.

But the name "Smith & Wesson" will still be on gun boxes and emblazoned on gun frames. The corporate name change is meant to signal the company’s expansion to areas beyond firearms manufacture, which is has been doing since 1852.

“According to Smith & Wesson, the renaming will not affect the gun’s brand, which will remain untouched. But it does reflect a major shift in the company’s priorities.”

“‘We believe that changing our corporate name to American Outdoor Brands Corporation will better reflect our strategic focus on the shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor markets,’” Smith & Wesson said in a statement. ‘Changing our name is not intended to diminish the importance of the Smith & Wesson brand in our portfolio. Rather, our new name will represent a broader and more inclusive platform.’”

Stockholders still have to approve the name change. If they do, the corporation's stock ticker will change from SWHC to AOBC. As an interesting side note, the Wall Street Journal says that the shareholder meeting will be the first conducted virtually by the company.

If it goes through, the change isn’t as momentous as it may seem. Smith & Wesson was formerly owned by Tomkins PLC until it was acquired by Saf-T-Hammer Corp., which changed its name to Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. in February 2002.

In January, Chief Executive James Debney announced plans to diversify into the larger recreational market that it has pursued by acquiring makers of hunting knives, flashlights, and camping equipment, as well as firearms accessory companies like Crimson Trace, the WSJ story says.