National Pen Acquired By Investment Firm
Financial Terms Of The Agreement Were Not Disclosed
As first reported yesterday in a Breaking News Alert, Counselor Top 40 distributor National Pen (asi/281040) has been purchased by private equity firm Lincolnshire Management. Financial terms of the agreement, which was finalized on November 20, were not disclosed. Lincolnshire acquired National Pen from Philadelphia-based Berwind Corporation, which owned the distributor for approximately seven years. "Berwind did great things for us and they were terrific owners," said Dave Thompson, CEO of National Pen, in an exclusive interview this morning with Counselor. "About a year ago, they made the decision to make some changes in their portfolio."
Since that time, Thompson and his executive staff have worked with an investment company to find new owners for National Pen, with Lincolnshire finally emerging as the frontrunner this fall. "I interviewed half a dozen CEOs of companies that used to be owned by Lincolnshire and they were unanimous in their positive comments," Thompson says. "Lincolnshire has people on their team with knowledge of direct mail. We think they can help us get to another level of sophistication with data and analytics."
The change in ownership will not affect staffing and Thompson will remain in his role as the head of National Pen. The distributor's business model – which combines direct mail capabilities, in-house production and printing technology – will be unchanged. The company markets to customers in 20 different countries and recently expanded its sales efforts into Japan and Poland. "We are extremely excited about the long-term prospects of National Pen and look forward to partnering with its strong management team," said Rick Sullivan, a principal at Lincolnshire, which handles more than $1.7 billion of private equity funds.
Ranked as the ninth largest distributor in the industry, National Pen reported to Counselor that its 2011 North American ad specialty revenues were $145 million. According to Thompson, sales at National Pen are up 10% in 2012. "We're having an incredible year," he said. "We're going to keep doing what we're doing with business as usual. I'm excited that we've gotten to this point."