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Firearms manufacturer Remington in talks to sell to Navajo Nation

Remington Arms Co. is in talks with the Navajo Nation about being purchased. The company was founded in Ilion, New York, in 1816. (Gannett New York)

GALLUP — Gun manufacturer Remington Arms Co. is in talks with the Navajo Nation about a possible purchase of the company.

News about the possible purchase of the centuries-old company by the tribe broke in a June 26 story by The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the matter.

Remington is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for a second time, and the filing could happen soon, according to the story.

The news came three days after the Navajo Nation Council’s Budget and Finance Committee tabled a bill that called for the tribe to directly invest in a “nationally recognized manufacturing entity.”

Remington is not named in the bill but described as “a non-native owned nationally recognized manufacturing entity that enjoys worldwide brand recognition.”

The purchase, which could cost up to $300 million, was recommended on June 12 by the tribe’s Investment Committee, an advisory group to the Budget and Finance Committee.

The bill proposes Controller Pearline Kirk use the tribe’s investment portfolios to fund the purchase.

It also states that due diligence was performed on the company by outside legal counsel contracted through the council’s Office of Legislative Counsel and the Office of the Speaker on behalf of the Office of the Controller and chairperson of the Investment Committee, which is Kirk.

“The due diligence and negotiations concerning the company are covered by a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be distributed to the public and/or anyone not covered by the NDA,” the bill states.

The bill was introduced on June 12 by Delegate Jamie Henio, who serves as chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. Speaker Seth Damon is the co-sponsor.

It was assigned only to the Budget and Finance Committee and became eligible for consideration on June 17.

A majority of the five-member committee tabled the bill on June 23 and held a work session about the matter with the tribe’s Investment Committee on June 26.

Remington first filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2018. Court documents show the case was closed on May 1 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The New York Times reported in July 2018 that the Navajo Nation offered $525 million to buy the gun manufacturer, a claim that spurred dueling press releases from the 23rd Navajo Nation Council and President Russell Begaye’s administration.

The June 26 story by The Wall Street Journal reported that Remington cut approximately $775 million in debt but continued to face high interest costs, operational issues and an ongoing lawsuit by family members of victims killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

“A bankruptcy sale would give a potential buyer the chance to purchase Remington free from legal liabilities, people familiar with the matter said,” the story states.

The company was founded by Eliphalet Remington’s in 1816 in Ilion, New York and has a headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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