CD&R to Acquire American Greetings

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has agreed to acquire 60% of American Greetings Corporation. The Weiss Family, descendants of Jacob Sapirstein, who founded the company in 1906, will retain a 40% equity interest in the company.

American Greetings is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of greeting cards, as well as gift packaging, party goods, and stationery products.  The company’s major greeting card lines are American Greetings, Carlton Cards, Gibson, Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus. Other paper product offerings include DesignWare party goods and American Greetings and Plus Mark gift-wrap and boxed cards.

American Greetings also sells its products through an online presence at www.Cardstore.com and at www.AmericanGreetings.com. The company 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, with annual revenues of approximately $1.8 billion, is headquartered in Cleveland (www.corporate.americangreetings.com).

According to CD&R, American Greetings has the number one position by volume in the $6 billion North American greeting card market. “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 closing of this transaction, John Beeder, the current President and Chief Operating Officer of American Greetings, 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 and the 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.”

CD&R invests in European and US-based businesses.  Since founding in 1978, the firm has invested $25 billion in 78 companies across a range of industries with a total transaction value of approximately $100 billion. CD&R was founded in 1978 and is based in New York and London (www.cdr-inc.com).

Committed financing for this transaction has been obtained from Barclays, Deutsche Bank Securities, Citizens Bank, ING Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC Bank USA, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Centerview Partners was the financial advisor to American Greetings.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | February 13, 2018

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