Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a private investment fund, is acquiring a 60% ownership stake in American Greetings. 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 No. 1 position by volume in the $6 billion North American greeting card market, with several 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 COO, will become CEO. Zev Weiss and Jeffrey Weiss, current co-CEOs, and Morry Weiss, current chairman, will remain on the board. David Scheible, an operating advisor to CD&R funds and former chairman and CEO of Graphic Packaging, will assume the role of chairman of American Greetings.
“We believe the deep operating expertise that Clayton, Dubilier & Rice brings to us makes them an ideal strategic partner,” Zev Weiss said.
CD&R obtained committed financing 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.
Debevoise & Plimpton served as legal advisor, and Barclays, Deutsche Bank Securities, Citizens Capital Markets, ING Financial Markets Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC Securities (USA), 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.