George Soros did not purchase Marlin
Firearms, and the company hasn’t announced any plans to shut down.
The eRumor first surfaced in 2011 when a
chain email claimed that the Freedom Group, a company supposedly owned
by George Soros, had purchased Marlin Firearms and other gun and ammo
makers like Remington, DPMS, Dakota Arms and H&R with plans to shut them
reported on this eRumor in 2011 and classified it as fiction. Over
the years, a number of variations of the eRumor have gone viral; so we
decided to take another look at a version that was in circulation in
“For the last several years a company
called The Freedom Group has been buying up gun and
ammunition manufacturers. Some of the companies are
Bushmaster, Marlin, Remington, DPMS, Dakota Arms and H&R.
Some people worry that this Freedom Group is going to control
most of the firearms companies in the United States. If you
control the manufacturers you can decide to stop selling to
civilians. What a perfect way to control guns. Now if you do
some digging you will see that The Freedom Group is owned by
a company called Cerberus Capital Management. Guess
who controls Cerberus??? GEORGE SOROS, Obama's chief financier!! He
wants to restrict or ban all civilian guns.”
First, let’s take a look at the email’s
claims about the ownership of the Freedom Group and Cerberus Capital
Management. Cerberus Capital Management isn’t owned or controlled by
George Soros, as the email claims. Soros isn’t even listed as a
board member of the hedge fund. Amid viral claims about Soros’
alleged role, the NRA even said in a 2012
statement that, “George Soros has never been a part of the Freedom
Group or Cerberus,” to calm its members’ fears.
The man behind Cerberus Capital
Management and the Freedom Group is Stephen Feinberg, the chief
executive of Cerberus. The New York Times
“Mr. Feinberg, a Princeton graduate
who began his Wall Street career at Drexel Burnham Lambert, the junk
bond powerhouse of Michael R. Milken fame, got into private equity
in 1992. That year, he and William L. Richter founded
Cerberus, which takes its name from the three-headed dog in Greek
mythology that guards the gates of Hades.
Today, Mr. Feinberg presides over a
private empire that rivals some of the mightiest public companies in
the land. Cerberus manages more than $20 billion in capital.
Together, the companies it owns generate annual revenue of about
$40 billion — more than either Amazon or Coca-Cola last year.”
Cerberus Capital Management formed the
Freedom Group in 2006, and it has become “the world’s leading innovator,
designer, manufacturer and marketer of firearms, ammunition and related
products,” the company says. Since
then, the Freedom Group has rebranded itself as the Remington Outdoor
Co., so it’s commonly referred to by both names.
The Freedom Group has acquired some of
the most recognizable names in the industry: Bushmaster in 2006,
Remington in 2007, DPMS Panther Arms in 2007 and Marlin Firearms in
2008. Cerberus also owned a number of gun and ammo makers before the
Freedom Group was formed. The company’s firearms business quickly earned
more than $1 billion in revenue a year, according to
Claims that Marlin Firearms had “closed
down” went viral in 2011 when the Marlin Firearms manufacturing plant in
Connecticut was shuttered after 141 years in business. A spokesperson
said the move was made to consolidate manufacturing operations to
cut costs in light of “intense” competition. Bushmaster’s plant in Maine
was also closed in an effort to consolidate manufacturing. But those
brands weren’t discontinued; their products were just rolled into other
Reports indicate that the gun and ammo
maker had fallen on hard times by the end of 2012. A Bushmaster gun was
allegedly used to carry out the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary
School in Newtown, Connecticut, and a group of parents later
sued the gun maker over the shooting. Remington also faced a $25
million recall of
misfiring guns in 2014. All the while, gun sales had bottomed out.
Buyers flocked to the market in 2013 as stricter federal gun laws were
being debated, so demand for new guns was unusually low with those
buyers off the market a year later, the New York Post
“The situation ‘spells disaster’ for
Remington, said a source familiar with the company’s financials.
Remington has seen its earnings
before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fall from $240
million last year to $125 million this year, the source said.
Revenue has fallen from $1.25 billion last year to $1 billion in
In October, Moody’s Investors Service
downgraded Remington’s debt to B2, or high credit risk.
‘Remington’s weakened financial
condition heightens ongoing rating concerns, including high
regulatory and product liability risks and the discretionary nature
of its products,’ Moody’s wrote.”
Cerberus Capital Management has
reportedly been trying to sell the Freedom Group since late 2012. A
Florida company named Global Digital Solutions emerged with a $1 billion
cash offer to purchase the company in early 2014, but Freedom Group
later dismissed the bid.
In December of 2014,
reported that the company had taken on more than $1 billion of debt.