The battle for Vista Outdoor, the company behind top ammunition brands like Remington and Camelbak water bottles, is escalating – and national security is becoming an increasingly important factor in the battle.

Investment firm MNC Capital on Monday increased its bid for the company to $3 billion, DealBook first reported, hoping that a more generous offer — and further uncertainty that a rival bidder, the Czechoslovak Group, can pass a U.S. national security assessment — will win over Vista shareholders.

MNC offers $37.50 per share for all of Vista, up from an offer of $35 last month and 16 percent higher than where Vista’s shares closed on Friday. In a letter to Vista’s board reviewed by DealBook, the investment firm reiterated that it had arranged financing for its bid, despite questions from Vista about how solid those commitments were.

Vista rejected MNC’s earlier offer, saying a planned break-up of itself would be more valuable to shareholders. (Vista has agreed to sell its ammunition business to CSG for $1.9 billion, leaving its non-firearms division, Revelyst, a standalone public company.)

MNC argued that its new offer grants Revelyst $1.1 billion in enterprise value, almost double the $570 million implied by the CSG deal.

In its letter, MNC amplified national security concerns. The CSG deal is under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the federal interagency panel that reviews certain investments by foreign buyers in U.S. companies. (As a US company, MNC is not subject to such assessment.)

Concerns about foreign ownership of industrial assets have become a bigger factor in dealmaking in the past year, complicating transactions even involving U.S. allies like Japan in the case of the proposed sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel.

MNC claimed the CSG deal would give a foreign-owned company control over the supply of primers, the propellant in ammunition, to the West.

CSG has faced heavy criticism before. The Czech company’s CEO Michal Strnad said in 2022 that it took his company “seven long months” to get CFIUS approval for the acquisition of Fiocchi, another arms maker.

Vista has said it expects to “receive all necessary regulatory approvals, including with respect to CFIUS.” A CSG spokesperson declined to comment.

The clock is ticking for MNC. The Committee on Foreign Investment is expected to rule on the CSG deal as early as this week. It could approve the transaction, impose conditions for approval or recommend to President Biden to block the transaction.

Vista has set May 16 as the date for a shareholder vote on the CSG offer, open to investors who own the shares as of April 1.

The federal government is now funded through September. President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion spending package this weekend that will keep key parts of the government open through the end of the fiscal year. The legislation came after months of opposition from Republicans, some of whom may now be trying to oust Speaker Mike Johnson.

The EU is investigating tech giants under a sweeping new law. The bloc’s executive arm, the European Commission, said it is investigating Alphabet, Apple and Meta over their compliance with the Digital Markets Act, a broad law regulating the dominance of technology platforms. The committee said the companies’ proposals intended to comply with the law appeared to have fallen short; the law provides stiff penalties for violations.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on restricting access to mifepristone. Oral arguments will begin tomorrow in a case over whether the FDA acted properly by adopting rules that made it easier to obtain the abortion pill. Some scholars said any decision would show whether the Supreme Court was willing to let lawsuits, rather than federal regulations, dictate government policy.

Investors are bracing for a crucial inflation report. The Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, an inflation measure closely watched by the Fed, is expected to be released on Friday (when the US stock and bond markets are closed). Last month’s report came in above expectations, adding to concerns that the central bank’s efforts to curb inflation are losing steam. Wall Street is expecting another hot number this week.

A parade of American business leaders is in Beijing this week for the China Development Forum, looking for clues on how to navigate the diplomatic minefield of doing business in a country facing an exodus of foreign investment.

The meeting comes against the backdrop of rising trade tensions, underlined by a new US crackdown on TikTok. The presence of so many CEOs is potentially good PR for China, showing that despite all the talk of ‘de-risking’, Western companies still recognize its strategic importance.

American managers dominate the visitor list. They reportedly make up the largest delegation, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Pfizer’s Albert Bourla, Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman and Starbucks’ Laxman Narasimhan. That’s a big change from last year, when many stayed away after the Chinese spy balloon controversy.

China is trying to reassure investors. The Chinese leader Xi Jinping will reportedly meet executives after the forum, a follow-up to his dinner in San Francisco last year after his summit with President Biden.

And Premier Li Qiang on Sunday emphasized new priorities and investments in clean energy, high-tech and science to boost growth, while old drivers such as real estate slow down.

Yet companies are feeling the chill. China has reportedly ordered the removal of Intel and AMD chips from government devices as it looks to boost domestic manufacturers. And evidence is mounting that consumers are falling out of love with Apple’s iPhone.

Meanwhile, Kering saw investors wipe out $9 billion in market value after the luxury group warned last week of slumping sales in China.

Cook shows how CEOs try to strike the right tone. The Apple boss has posted snippets of his trip to Weibo, the Chinese social network, over the past week. And despite pressure to diversify supply chains, he said Apple would invest more in China after a meeting with the Commerce Secretary.


This week will be momentous for Donald Trump, who faces a high-stakes legal showdown and a stock market debut for the company behind his Truth Social platform.

Trump has parlayed his growing legal troubles into a windfall of donations, but the cases have also created a financial crisis. Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, could seize pieces of his business empire as early as Monday if the former president fails to post bail to cover a $454 million fine related to a civil fraud case involving the Trump Organization.

Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing this month that finding a company to secure the bond was a “practical impossibility.” Trump is also expected to be in a Manhattan courtroom this morning for a hearing in his criminal hush money case.

Truth Social could provide a financial lifeline. On Friday, Trump Media & Technology Group, the social media platform’s parent company, merged with Digital Word Acquisition Group.

The new entity, of which Trump owns 60 percent, has a market capitalization of $5 billion and is expected to begin trading this week. Shares in DWAC rose in premarket trading this morning, padding Trump’s paper gains.

Major Trump supporters may also see a windfall. A regulatory filing in December showed that Susquehanna International Group, the investment firm led by Jeff Yass, a Republican megadonor, was DWAC’s largest institutional shareholder. Susquehanna did not confirm to The Times whether the company still has an interest.

Trump’s ties to Yass have come under scrutiny during the latest TikTok fight. Yass is a supporter of the Club for Growth, the low-tax advocacy group that has pressured Republican representatives to reject a ban on TikTok. Susquehanna is also a major investor in ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. Trump has reversed the ban on TikTok after pushing for it during his term.


Over the past two years, the PR agency BerlinRosen has expanded rapidly through acquisitions, purchasing specialists in the field of consumer, real estate and technology communications and analyses.

On Monday, the company unveiled the results of that deal and rebranded itself as Orchestra. It further reflects PR players’ efforts to rebrand themselves as strategy consultancies, rather than just pitching press releases.

Orchestra is built on seven acquisitions in 24 months, Jonathan Rosen, the company’s CEO, told DealBook. The acquisitions include Derris, a consumer specialist; Glen Echo Group, a technical public affairs firm; Inkhouse, a PR shop for tech start-ups; and Message Lab, an analytics and editorial company founded by former journalists.

Orchestra now has approximately 600 employees in 12 cities. Customers include data software company Databricks, eyewear retailer Warby Parker and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The deal came about after an investment from private equity. The company struck a deal with O2 Investment Partners in January 2022 after its leaders pitched the investment firm on growth opportunities, Rosen said.

Private equity has been busy in this area, with other deals including KKR’s investment in FGS Global last year, BDT Capital Partners in Brunswick Group in 2021 and CVC Capital Partners in Teneo in 2019.

Orchestra has grown despite a challenging 2023. “Last year was an incredibly difficult macro environment,” Rosen said, but he said Orchestra grew in the low single digits and raised $135 million in revenue. (The U.S. division of Edelman, the PR giant, reported a 9 percent decline in revenue last year, to $639 million.)

An improving economy should boost growth this year, he said.

There is potential for more deals. The goal is not “tens of thousands of people on a global scale,” Rosen said. But there’s still room for Orchestra to expand beyond its core North American market.

Offers

  • Activist investor Politan Capital Management, which already holds two board seats at Masimo, the medical device manufacturer that recently won a patent battle against Apple, reportedly wants two more. (WSJ)

  • Whistleblowers say Citigroup’s equities division has been dogged by allegations of sexual harassment and drug use for years. (Bloomberg)

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