Private Equity LOVES Labels – August 2016 M&A Activity
It’s a love affair - private equity firms are hot for printing companies that specialize in prime labels and flexible packaging. AEA Investors, a New York City-based private equity fund, announced that it was adding to its holding in the label printing segment with the addition of three companies to be bolted-on to its portfolio platform company Inovar Packaging Group which the fund acquired earlier this year. The triple-play acquisition brings Murray Label & Packaging in Dallas, Texas, 21st Century Labels & Packaging in Davie, Florida and SafePrints in Miami, Florida into the Inovar Packaging Group. The acquired companies produce custom prime pressure sensitive labels, printed shrink sleeves, cartons and flexible packaging. AEA Investors is a very senior member in the PE world, with lineage going back to 1968, and American aristocrat founders including the Rockefeller, Mellon, and Harriman families. The firm has approximately $10 billion in assets under management with offices on three continents. They clearly like the label business.
Advent International, middle-aged in PE firm years, having been established in 1984, stepped into the US label printing business in a big way in August. Advent announced the acquisition of Fort Dearborn, a supplier of prime labels headquartered in Elk Grove, Illinois. This is a secondary buyout of Fort Dearborn, which has been a portfolio platform company of KRG Capital Partners which acquired Fort Dearborn in 2010 and completed four add-ons to the company since 2013. Fort Dearborn is now one of only a few major players in the otherwise highly fragmented label printing segment. The company is reportedly now the third largest supplier of prime labels in the North American market, with 15 manufacturing facilities and approximately 1,675 employees. Like AEA Investors, Advent International also has patrician roots, founded by Peter Brooke who had previously founded TA Associates, an early and very successful venture capital firm. Advent just completed raising $13 billion for its eighth global fund, bringing its total to $42 billion under management. They also like the label business.