The tribe saw a purchase of Remington as way to invest in its people, too.
“Navajo has over 70 percent unemployment,” Mr. Ryce wrote. “Over the next few years we would shift the assembly (i.e. lesser trained) parts of the business onto the reservation.”
Over the longer term, he said, the tribe would have created the kinds of small machining operations that supply many parts to the company. “We would establish this specific machining of specific parts on-reservation and assemble and ship the products on-reservation,” Mr. Ryce said.
Remington, which emerged from bankruptcy this spring, is not a public company. It is largely owned by the investment firm Franklin Templeton, which was a creditor before the bankruptcy. JPMorgan Chase owns a smaller part of the company as a result of previously providing it a loan. Had Remington accepted the offer, both creditors would have been able to quickly exit an investment that has brought with it unwanted attention.
Remington did not answer questions about the bid. In a statement, the company said all offers were submitted to a review committee appointed by its board, which was selected by the stockholders. “All such opportunities are being and have been submitted to the committee for review,” the company said.
A spokesman for Franklin Templeton declined to comment, as did a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase.
The bid was rejected last week after Remington had delayed a formal reply for nearly two months, according to a memo from Christopher Wu, president of Teneo Restructuring, a banker for the Navajo Nation.
“The conversation was cordial,” he said of call he received from Remington’s general counsel in reply to the bid. “He conveyed an official message from the board thanking us for our interest in pursuing a strategic transaction. He let us know that the company at this time is not prepared to engage with third parties and they required time after their reorganization to assess their business.”
When he asked about the delay, he wrote, he was told again that Remington was not prepared to engage with third parties. There was no mention that the bid price was too low.