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Firearms company Colt bought by Czech rival

February 12, 2021, 4:52 PM UTC

One of the oldest gunmakers in the United States is being sold to an overseas competitor.

Czech firearms company Ceska Zbrojovka Group (CZG) has bought Colt, which has been manufacturing firearms since the early 19th century, for $220 million in cash and stock.

CZG already owns a host of other firearms companies, including Dan Wesson and Brno Rifles. Reuters reports the company is currently building a factory in Little Rock.

It’s the end of an era for Colt, which was a key part of the Wild West days in the U.S. Its iconic single-action revolver was branded as “The Peacemaker” in the 1800s. The company has also manufactured guns for the military and law enforcement.

Colt has struggled as the firearms industry has grown and its design patents expired. It filed for bankruptcy in 2015, emerging the following year. And it has continued to lose market share as police switched to Glock weapons, which were cheaper, lighter, and held more ammunition. And Smith & Wesson has also grown to be a much larger competitor.

Colt officials say they hope the acquisition will help the company regain some of its past glory and result in stronger financials. The combined group will have revenues of over $500 million.

“We are very pleased with the prospect of such a strategic combination,” said Dennis Veilleux, president and CEO of Colt, in a statement. “Having completed a historic turnaround of the operations and financial performance at Colt over the past five years, this important next step with CZG positions the company to take advantage of significant growth opportunities.”

The deal, which also includes Colt’s Canadian subsidiary, is expected to close in the second quarter.