Photo:Safariland customers include law enforcement.
Safariland, which makes body armor and other protective equipment for law enforcement and military customers, is back in the hands of Warren B. Kanders, who paid $124 million to acquire the company from BAE Systems through an affiliate of his investment firm Kanders and Co. Kanders’ interest in the Jacksonville company dates to 1996, when he first invested in predecessor American Body Armor & Equipment of Fernandina Beach. In 1999, when he was chairman of Armor Holdings, he led Armor to acquire Safariland for $41 million. He helped build the company through 19 acquisitions before BAE Systems bought Armor Holdings, including Safariland, for $4.1 billion in 2007. Revenue has fallen sharply since 2007. Kanders hopes to step up new product development and distribution, particularly internationally, and make select acquisitions. “It’s like I have unfinished business,” he says.