Mason Wells Exits Pacon

Mason Wells Exits Pacon

Mason Wells has sold Pacon Corporation to Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini (FILA) at an enterprise value of $340 million.

Pacon, acquired by Mason Wells from The Van Hoof Companies in November 2011, is a provider of educational and arts & crafts products marketed through retailers, educational distributors, and wholesalers. The company has a portfolio of over 8,500 SKUs across many categories including classroom papers, arts & crafts, teaching aids, décor, learning games, and fine art materials. Pacon is also a converter and marketer of art papers sold primarily under the Strathmore Artist Papers brand to student, professional, and recreational artists. Pacon, founded in 1951 and led by CEO Jim Schmitz, operates eight production facilities located in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada and is headquartered in Appleton, WI (

“The partnership of the Pacon team with Mason Wells over the past several years clearly transformed the business to a new level,” said Mr. Schmitz. “Through the development and execution of a refined long-term marketing and growth strategy in combination with five strategic acquisitions that included expansions into new markets and adjacent product categories, the company is well positioned for continued success in the future. In addition, Mason Wells brought disciplined processes and resources that allowed the business to reinvest in new capital projects including the purchase and implementation of SAP.  We are excited about entering the next Pacon chapter in a new partnership with FILA who will capture the benefits of the past 6.5 years work for many years to come. I want to personally thank the Mason Wells team, who we consider friends and mentors, for their unwavering support.”

“We are very proud of the success Pacon has achieved during our ownership period,” said Tom Smith, Executive Managing Director of Mason Wells.  “During that time, we transitioned the company from family-ownership and made investments in the existing operations as well as strategic acquisitions.  We completed five tuck-in acquisitions, which helped the company expand its geographic coverage, product categories, and brand portfolio.  We are very pleased to know the company and team will continue to thrive as part of the FILA organization.”

FILA is an international supplier of art materials and related products. The company, publicly traded on the Milan stock exchange (BIT: FILA) was founded in 1959 and is headquartered in Milan (

Mason Wells makes investments in Midwest-based companies with revenues of $25 million to $300 million and EBITDAs of $5 million to $30 million. Sectors of interest include consumer packaged goods; packaging materials and converting; outsourced business services; and engineered products and services.  In February 2016, Mason Wells held a final closing of Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV and its related Executive Buyout Fund IV with total commitments of $615 million.  The firm was founded in 1998 and is based in Milwaukee (

Robert W. Baird was the financial advisor to Pacon.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | June 11, 2018

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