Cox Target Media's Valpak Direct Mail Operation Is Sold to Private Equity Firm
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — January 4, 2017 — Private equity firm Platinum Equity has acquired Cox Target Media (CTM), based here, from Cox Media Group. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
CTM’s businesses comprise one of the nation’s largest direct marketing service providers, reaching more than 100 million consumers, primarily through Valpak “Blue Envelope” household mailers sent monthly to 37.3 million households, as well as through Savings.com, an online provider of digital coupons and promotional codes serving over 4.5 million monthly visitors, which was acquired in 2012.
CTM prints, packages and ships Valpak coupon envelopes from the Valpak Manufacturing Center, a $200 million, 470,000-sq.-ft. print production facility that opened in St. Petersburg, Fla., in early 2008 with more than 300 workers. When it was built, the operation was heralded throughout the printing industry for its JDF/JMF-based workflows, sophisticated web offset printing and material handling automation, as well as its lean manufacturing capabilities. The new production facility consolidated former operations in Largo, Fla., and Elm City, N.C.
In each of its mailing cycles, Valpak sells the outside of the envelope to select local and national advertisers, who use on-envelope advertising for promotions, marketing campaigns and sweepstakes. Previous advertisers include Food Network, HGTV, CBS and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, among others. Printed inserts in the envelope advertise businesses with coupons for dining, health and beauty, entertainment, automotive, home services and more. Annually, Valpak distributes some 20 billion coupons in more than 447 million envelopes, and millions more through its mobile app and websites.
“We look forward to partnering with management to support and invest in growth initiatives, while maintaining focus on the core business,” said Platinum Equity Principal Adam Cooper. “Valpak’s state-of-the-art printing facility and dedicated workforce represent a strong foundation to take the business forward. We also highly value the company’s franchise network, which provides a critical link to both local and national advertisers and serves as the lifeblood of the business.”
Following the transition to new ownership, Valpak and Savings.com will continue to operate under their respective brands. A new brand identity for the corporate parent company is also being developed.
Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with a portfolio of approximately 30 operating companies. It has completed more than 185 acquisitions during the past 20 years.
According to Wikipedia, unemployed autoworker Terry Loebel founded Valpak in 1968 using a $500 loan to start mailing coupons from his home to households in Clearwater, Fla. In 1972, Valpak established its first franchise in Orlando, Fla. and, by 1982, expanded into Canada. Terry Loebel sold Valpak to a group of investors in 1985. Cox Target Media purchased Valpak in September 1991.