“I probably need a drink!” admitted David Byk, ceo of the Swan Mill Group (which includes Ling Design and Penny Kennedy) having finally clinched the deal this afternoon (30 August) to acquire the goodwill and assets of The Great British Card Company (GBCC). The announcement comes a week after the Gloucester-based GBCC went into administrative receivership, which has seen David Byk negotiate the final deal with BDO Stoy Hayward, which is handling the receivership.
“This is a momentous and very exciting step for us. It brings together two great UK companies, which will open up huge possibilities for all the UK regional, national and charity customers as well as our strong export channel,” adds David.
This acquisition, which comes four years after Swan Mill purchased Ling Design means that the addition of GBCC and the Waterwells brokerage side takes Swan Mill’s greeting card and giftwrap turnover to over £22 million, making it one of the largest independently-owned businesses in the industry.
All 106 GBCC staff have been paid by GBCC’s new owners while licensing agreements, with Medici, Avanti and its key humour brands, such as Eric the Penguin have also been re-signed with Swan Mill.
“GBCC is a great business, but was absolutely cash-strapped,” said David of the company’s demise. “Our mission is to make the Great British Card Company great again. There are so many opportunities and synergies,” he added, reassuring that while there will be synergies, Ling, GBCC and the brokerage Waterwells businesses will be kept separate.
The most immediate focus, says David is now is to get deliveries out to GBCC’s retail customers. “The GBCC stock that is sitting at the UK docks will be released on Monday,” confirmed David referring to Christmas boxed cards orders that are due with customers. Deliveries of Christmas singles will follow very close behind, assures David.
With the Waterwells’ brokerage side a major attraction in the deal, David is looking forward to talking to the brokered publishers and retailers about that business going forward.
Top: Medici (under licence) and Darkroom are two brands to join the Swan Mill family as a result of the GBCC deal.