Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has agreed to acquire 60% stake in American Greetings, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of greeting cards, as well as gift packaging, party goods, and stationery products.
The Weiss Family, descendants of Jacob Sapirstein, who founded the company in 1906, will retain a 40% stake in the business. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
American Greetings has the number one position by volume in the $6 billion North American greeting card market, with several iconic brands, including American Greetings, Papyrus, Recycled Paper Greetings, Gibson, and Carlton Cards. The company currently provides products to more than 60,000 retail stores and maintains a portfolio of 440 patents, more than 2,500 copyrights, and 1,000 trademarks.
"American Greetings is a clear market leader with a strong portfolio of valuable brands," said CD&R Partner Ken Giuriceo. "We are very pleased to partner with the Weiss Family and American Greetings' talented management team and to be aligned around a set of identified actions to strengthen the company's competitive positioning and prospects for sustainable, long-term growth and profitability."
Upon the close of the transaction, John Beeder, current President and Chief Operating Officer, will become Chief Executive Officer. Zev Weiss and Jeffrey Weiss, current Co-CEOs and Morry Weiss, current Chairman, will participate on the Board. David Scheible, an Operating Advisor to CD&R funds and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Graphic Packaging, will assume the role of Chairman of American Greetings. John Compton, a CD&R Operating Partner and former President of Pepsico, will be actively involved with the business and serve on the company's Board.
"We believe the deep operating expertise that Clayton, Dubilier & Rice brings to us makes them an ideal strategic partner," said Zev Weiss. "They have an outstanding track record of success and a strong reputation for trustworthiness and operational leadership and we look forward to working closely together and continuing to serve the interests of American Greetings' customers, employees, and suppliers," added Jeffrey Weiss.
CD&R has obtained committed financing from Barclays, Deutsche Bank Securities, Citizens Bank, N.A., ING Capital LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC Bank USA, N.A., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and KeyBanc Capital Markets. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP served as legal advisor, and Barclays, Deutsche Bank Securities, Citizens Capital Markets, ING Financial Markets LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and KeyBanc Capital Markets served as financial advisors to CD&R in the transaction. Jones Day served as legal advisor, and Centerview Partners served as financial advisor to American Greetings.