Major Private Equity Firm Is Getting Out of the Gun Business

Dashiell Bennett
December 18, 2012
Major Private Equity Firm Is Getting Out of the Gun Business

Cerberus Capital Management, which helped created one the nation's largest gun manufacturing conglomerates, has announced it is selling off its investment in the group in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The firm announced it will divest itself of Freedom Group, which was had been a wildly successful enterprise for the firm, but has become too controversial in the wake of yet another mass shooting and a renewed focus on gun control. Freedom Group in Bushmaster, which manufactures the rifle used by the Newtown shooter to kill 20 school children on Friday.

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Cerberus is a private equity company that creates and manages investments on behalf on pension funds and other large institutional investors. They created Freedom Group after buying several smaller gun companies and merging them into one firm. In the first nine months, of 2012, they had net sales of $677 million, a 20 percent rise over the year before, according Dealbook.

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In a statement the company said "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." One of their largest clients, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, issued a statement on Monday suggesting they might withdraw their funds from Cerberus after Friday's tragedy, a move that likely spurred the investment giant to act. Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer also wrote an opinion piece for Slate, arguing for increased economic pressure on Cerberus and other companies who  invest in gun manufacturing as a way to curb the spread of guns.