Deal done – UKG has new majority shareholder

It is the end of an era as the Weiss family no longer have the majority shareholding of American Greetings (parent company of UK Greetings), that was founded by their ancestor Jacob Sapirstein back in 1906. Having been announced in February, the deal has just been completed which gives US investment company Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) 60% ownership of American Greetings and UK Greetings.

UKG’s ceo James Conn (right) with Jeff Weiss, former co-ceo of American Greetings, but who continues as a board member.
UKG’s ceo James Conn (right) with Jeff Weiss, former co-ceo of American Greetings, but who continues as a board member.

The Weiss family however, retains the remaining 40% ownership of the global greeting card group and Clintons is not part of the deal, the ownership of which resides totally with the Weiss family.

As James Conn, chief executive of UKG stressed, “The Weiss family are still very much involved and retaining a significant minority shareholding will still sit on the board.”

The next few months will see UKG ramp up the activities to celebrate its biggest brand, Boofle’s 10th anniversary.
The next few months will see UKG ramp up the activities to celebrate its biggest brand, Boofle’s 10th anniversary.

Making a salient point about the significant investment CD&R has made in acquiring the bulk of AG, James adds, “Surely it is very positive that a company as respected as Clayton Dubilier & Rice recognises the value and has spotted the potential in investing so significantly in greeting cards. This can only be good news for UKG, our retail customers and the industry at large.”

In the official press statement about CD&R’s shareholding acquisition, it states that American Greetings ‘has the number one position by volume in the $6 billion North American greeting card market’ through its brands which include American Greetings, Paperyrus, Recycled Paper Greetings, Gibson and Carlton Cards. The company currently supplies 60,000 retail stores.

Clintons was not part of the CD&R deal and continues under the ownership of the Weiss family.
Clintons was not part of the CD&R deal and continues under the ownership of the Weiss family.

Meanwhile, CD&R, a private investment company with offices in New York and London, has managed investment of $26 billion in 79 companies with an aggregate transaction value of more than $100 billion.

A full interview with James Conn, ceo of UK Greetings will appear in the April edition of Progressive Greetings which is out this week.

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