Shareholders of Alliant Techsystems gave overwhelming approval to a proposed merger with Orbital Sciences, paving the way for the spin-off of Vista Outdoor, the new company that will run Bushnell, Bollé, Cébé, Serengeti and other brands of sports eyewear, firearms and ammunition. Vista Outdoor, which will go public on Feb. 10, saw its total sales decline by 3.3 percent to $507 million in the third quarter ended Dec. 28, as a 40.8 percent increase for outdoor products to $198 million could not offset a 19.5 percent decline in shooting sports. Gross profit increased by 91.9 percent to $54.2 million for outdoor products, but fell by 22.6 percent to $80.9 million for shooting sports. Sales of outdoor products were boosted by the November 2013 acquisition of Bushnell, which contributed sales of $151 million and gross profit of $44 million in the latest quarter. On a pro-forma basis, sales of outdoor products went up by only one percent in the quarter, with growth in the optics business offset by a softening in tactical accessories and reloading.

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