Cerberus Looks to Sell Stake in Firearms Maker Freedom Group Following Sandy Hook Tragedy (SWHC) (RGR)

December 18, 2012 8:51 AM EST
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Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC) and Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR) shares are on watch Tuesday morning following news of M&A in the firearms segment.

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital is looking to unload is position in firearms maker Freedom Group. Cerberus issued a press release earlier on the session, saying that the move was closely tied to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14th.

Cerberus' statement from the release: "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."

Further: "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.

"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. 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."

Shares of Smith & Wesson and Strum Ruger are lower early.

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