TPM Livewire

Has Top Gunmaker Found A $1 Billion Buyer, Or Just Getting Punk'd?

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The company that made the offer is a Palm Beach, Fla. publicly-traded technology company named Global Digital Solutions. In press releases, Global Digital Solutions describes itself as a company "positioning itself as a leader in providing cyber arms manufacturing, complementary security and technology solutions and knowledge-based, cyber-related, culturally attuned social consulting in unsettled areas." According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Global Digital Solutions first proposed to acquire Freedom Group in late January, but it got no response from Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns Freedom Group.

On Tuesday, Global Digital Solutions filed paperwork with the Security and Exchange Commission providing information about "an unsolicited offer to purchase Freedom for $1.082 billion in cash and shares of GDSI’s common stock," according to a company press release.

Cerberus Capital Management, which over the last decade quietly put together an umbrella company of some of the biggest names in firearms, announced its plan to sell Freedom Group just days after the December 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The gunman, Adam Lanza, used a semiautomatic rifle manufactured by Bushmaster, one of Freedom Group's companies, which also include Remington and DPMS/Panther Arms.

Bloomberg Businessweek cited several reports that suggest the bid from Global Digital Solutions was a public relations move. A gun industry newsletter called Outdoor Wire said Remington had described the offer as “attention seeking in its worst form." Bloomberg Businessweek speculated that Global Digital Solutions may be seeking attention for a new product called GDSI Gatekeeper, described by the company as "a revolutionary suite of technology-enhanced services that offer personalized, digital small arms safety and security solutions in commercial and military-related markets."