“We have experienced strong growth with the Wicks team, and they have been a valuable partner to us throughout their ownership,” said Bendon’s Chief Executive Officer, Ben Ferguson. “We’ve built a better, more profitable business together, and we are excited to be teaming with Irving Place to continue our expansion, both organically and through acquisitions.”
Bendon is a designer and producer of children’s coloring and activity products. The existing product portfolio includes coloring and activity books, kits, sets and play packs, puzzle books, box puzzles, and other early childhood development games. By utilizing a licensed portfolio of the world’s most popular children’s characters and brands, Bendon sells more than 350 million units per year in more than 80,000 retail outlets in North America. The company was established in 2002 and is headquartered in Ashland, OH with five additional offices in the US (www.bendoninc.com).
“This is an attractively positioned, exciting company with significant potential,” said John Howard, Chief Executive Officer at Irving Place Capital. “We are thrilled to be in partnership with Ben and his team, and we look forward to continuing the success and growth they have enjoyed under Wicks’ ownership.”
Irving Place Capital invests in buyouts, recapitalizations and growth capital opportunities. The firm focuses on making control or entrepreneur-driven investments. Since its formation in 1997, Irving Place Capital has been an investor in 60 companies and manages over $4 billion, including its current $2.7 billion institutional fund. The firm is based in New York (www.irvingplacecapital.com).
Wicks Capital Partners acquired Bendon in February 2012. The firm invests in lower-middle-market companies operating in select segments of the information, education and media industries principally in the United States and Canada. Sectors of specific interest include educational content and services, business services and information, consumer information, healthcare information, radio and television broadcasting, and other media. The firm was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in New York (www.wicksgroup.com).
“Over the last few years, Ben Ferguson and his team have established Bendon as a true market leader in its categories. We were delighted to have had the chance to work closely with them and are excited to see what they can accomplish with their new partners at IPC. We wish them both continued success,” said Daniel Black, Managing Partner at Wicks.
Robert W. Baird & Company acted as financial advisor to Wicks on the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to Irving Place Capital.
© 2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 3-31-15