Colt ends 175 years as American gunmaker with purchase by Czech company

Hartford Courant

By Stephen Singer

Hartford Courant

Colt Holding Co. has been purchased by a Czech firearms company, ending a 175-year run as an American company and helping to establish a “small arms powerhouse,” the two companies announced Friday.

It also marks a new chapter for Colt, a one-time financially troubled company that, with its new Czech owner, is now expected to generate $500 million in revenue.

Ceská zbrojovka Group, or CZG, said it signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of Colt Holding Co. LLC, the parent company of Colt’s Manufacturing Co. and its Canadian subsidiary, Colt Canada Corp., for $220 million in cash and more than 1 million shares of the Czech company.

The agreement also calls for potentially issuing up to 1.1 million shares of newly issued CZG stock if defined profit thresholds are achieved between 2021 and 2023.

Colt, which manufactures guns for the military, police and civilian customers, has designed and made firearms in Connecticut since 1847. The company’s success in the 19th and 20th centuries mirrored Hartford’s rise as a wealthy manufacturing center.

From the company’s early use of interchangeable parts on the assembly line to the thousands of jobs provided for new immigrants, Colt’s helped to define the growth of precision manufacturing in the region.