As private equity firms look to exit weapons makers in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Norwest Equity Partners is selling Caliber Co. to ATK (NYSE: ATK) for $315 million.

Westfield, Mass.-based Caliber operates through the brand names Savage Arms, Stevens and Savage Range Systems. The company manufactures rifles, shotguns and shooting range systems used for hunting and recreational target shooting.

ATK makes ammunition and shooting accessories for sporting and law enforcement. Its brands include Federal Premium, CCI, Fusion, Speer, Estate Cartridge and Blazer. The deal adds long-barreled firearms to ATK’s product offerings.

The Arlington, Va.-based company also manufactures materials for defense, aerospace and security customers.

Norwest Equity Partners, a Minneapolis private equity firm, is selling Caliber. The firm’s investments include Rosetta Stone, Triad Broadcasting Co. and Roundy’s. Norwest invested in Caliber in January 2012. Norwest partnered alongside Long Point Capital, which led a recapitalization of the Savage Sports business in September 2004. 

The deal comes about five months after another private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management LP, on Dec. 18, announced it was selling its interest in gun maker Freedom Group Inc. after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting on Dec. 14. 

Freedom makes the Bushmaster rifle, which was used during the Newtown, Conn. shooting, as well as the Remington, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin and other brands. Reports in April indicated that Cerberus founder Stephen Feinberg may be planning to make a bid for the company.

Following the shooting, several pension plans announced they would review their portfolios for gun and ammunition investments. Cerberus’ announcement came after a spokesperson for the California State Teachers’ Retirement Systems (CalSTRS) said the pension fund, a Cerberus limited partner, was “examining the Cerberus investment to determine how best to move forward.” California treasurer Bill Lockyer also said that he believes neither CalSTRS or the California Public Employees’ Retirement Systems “Should have any investments in the makers of guns that are illegal in California.” Another Cerberus investment, the University of California, also said it does not want to invest in company that manufacture or distribute firearms.

Officials from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Chicago directed pension fund investment review after the shooting to see if the funds were invested in gun companies.

For more on how investors are viewing social issues, see “Investing Responsibly?” 

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