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Czech firearms company in negotiations to buy Colt, an American legend for nearly 175 years

Colt's Patent Arms Manufacturing Co. in 1876. (Credit Connecticut State Library/TNS)

Gun manufacturer Colt, an American legend and Connecticut fixture for nearly 175 years, could come under European ownership in a deal being negotiated with a Czech firearms company.

Česká zbrojovka Group SE, or CZG, which is negotiating to purchase Colt Holding Co., said it has reached agreement on the outlines of a deal with the West Hartford gun manufacturer.

A transaction for 100% of the outstanding equity interest in Colt Holding Co. is not certain, it said. The two companies have agreed to extend to the end of January the review required for due diligence and could approve a deal by then, CZG said.

A Czech firearms manufacturer is negotiating to buy Colt Holding Co. (MICHAEL McANDREWS / Hartford Courant/TNS)

Terms were not disclosed.

The two sides have reached agreement in principle on “key commercial parameters” and continue discussing other issues such as regulatory review requirements and legal terms and conditions, CZG said.

CZG cautioned that despite “significant progress in the negotiations, no assurances can be made that the transaction will be consummated.”

A representative of Colt did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

CZG, based in Prague, is a manufacturer of firearms for military and law enforcement, personal defense, hunting, sport shooting and other civilian use.

Colt Defense filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2015 after failing to renegotiate payments to the owners of $250 million in unsecured bonds. Colt Defense, with its headquarters and factory in West Hartford, is the operating company formed by the 2013 merger of Colt Defense LLC and Colt’s Manufacturing Co., which made and marketed non-military guns.

It exited bankruptcy in January 2016 after working out a compromise with bondholders.

Colt received a $10 million loan from the state in April 2017 tied to keeping 615 jobs. The manufacturer of guns sold to the military, police and civilian customers has designed and made firearms in Connecticut since 1847.


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