Cerberus to sell gunmaker Freedom Group after U.S. school shooting

Dec 18 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital

Management said on Tuesday it will immediately begin selling its

investment in gunmaker Freedom Group in light of last week's

school shooting in Connecticut.

Cerberus acquired Bushmaster in 2006 and later merged it

with other gun companies to create Freedom Group, which reported

net sales of $677.3 million for the nine months ending September

2012, up from $564.6 million in the same period a year ago.

Bushmaster is the manufacturer of the AR 15 rifle used by

the shooter in the Newtown killings that claimed 27 lives,

including 20 school children.

"We do not believe that Freedom Group or any single company

or individual can prevent senseless violence or the illegal use

or procurement of firearms and ammunition," Cerberus said in a

statement.

The private equity firm said it will retain a financial

adviser to sell its interests in Freedom Group, and will then

return that capital to investors.

Pressure mounted on Cerberus as the California State

Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) said on Monday it was

reviewing its investment with the private equity firm in light

of the Connecticut school shooting.

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