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Cerberus-backed gun maker aims for $200m IPO

Freedom Group was formed by Cerberus as a firearms platform after the firm acquired gun maker Bushmaster in 2006.

Cerberus Capital Management plans to take public its portfolio company Freedom Group, a maker and distributor of firearms and ammunition, to raise $200 million.

Cerberus filed its plan with the US Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday. The filing does not specify the amount of shares the company will issue in the IPO.

Cerberus bought US firearms brand Bushmaster in 2006, and created Freedom as a firearms platform, adding several companies like Remington and DPMS Firearms and Marlin Firearms.

The company had sales of $835.3 million and earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization of $150.8 million for the 12 months ended 30 June, 2009.

In July, Freedom issued $200 million of 10.25 percent senior secured notes due 2015 and entered a $180 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility. Freedom took on the debt to pay back old debt, as well as fund transaction fees and expenses.

Another Cerberus-backed company, Talecris Biotheraputics, raised $950 million in this year’s second largest IPO in September. Cerberus formed the company with Ampersand Ventures in 2005 when the firms bought Bayer’s plasma products business. The firms retained a 60 percent stake in the company and plan to use the proceeds to pay down debt.

The biotech company sold 50 million shares at $19 each. The offering was underwritten by seven banks led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.