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No Smith & Wesson Handgun Sale Now

January 3, 2000

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ Smith & Wesson’s parent company may eventually decide to sell the nation’s oldest and largest handgun maker but there are no such talks underway now, a spokesman for Smith & Wesson said Monday.

A London newspaper, The Mail, reported Sunday that the English conglomerate Tomkins PLC of London was ``looking″ to sell the gunmaker and that the sale might realize more than $160 million.

The Mail quoted an unidentified source for the report.

Smith & Wesson spokesman Ken Jorgensen said president and CEO Ed Shultz had talked to officials at the parent company on Monday.

Initially, Jorgensen said the conglomerate’s officials were ``totally surprised″ at the news report and had no active interest in selling.

But later, Jorgensen said Tomkins had announced last week it was refocusing on business and automotive products. ``They’re going to divest themselves of companies that don’t fit into that when they have an opportunity, but there’s nothing ongoing with Smith & Wesson at this time,″ said Jorgensen.

He described Smith & Wesson’s sales during the past year as very good but declined to give details.

He said he did not believe a spate of lawsuits against the company and other gunmakers would be a major factor in any decision to sell. Smith & Wesson has been cleared in suits that have been decided.

Smith & Wesson employs about 750 people in Springfield.

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