June 06, 2012 – Altus Capital Partners’ connection to its most recent acquisition, International Imaging Materials Inc., dates back nearly two decades.
That’s when Altus Managing Partner Russell Greenberg, in his previous life as an investment banker at Brean Murray Securities Inc., helped run an initial public offering in 1993 for the producer of thermal transfer printing consumables.
Several years and a handful of private equity sponsors later, the two sides met across the table during a sales process run by Lazard Middle Market, and wrapped up a deal for the company on June 1.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Greenberg said the transaction fell in the middle of Altus’ typical investment range. The firm usually targets deals with enterprise values of between $30 million and $100 million.
Based in Amherst, N.Y., with operations in Belgium, Brazil and Mexico, International Imaging Materials manufactures and distributes thermal transfer ribbons, which are used to print barcode labels, high durability product labels, outdoor signage and flexible packaging.
International Imaging Materials Chairman and Chief Executive Dick Marshall said the company, along with its majority investor Norwest Mezzanine Partners, launched a sale process in July 2011. They came across nine interested parties, and decided to do a second round of bidding – during which the same nine parties came back around.
Then, he said, they winnowed it down to Altus, and found that the two saw pretty much eye to eye.
“You go through a deal like that and get to negotiate a whole lot of stuff,” he said. “But it was all very grounded. We never came across an issue that was a show stopper.”
Marshall credited Norwest with getting the business through the recession. The mezzanine firm came in as an investor in 2007, then during the recession the firm “gave us a significant infusion of capital and became principal owners of the company,” said Marshall. “We ended up recapping the company, got the balance sheet squared away and came out stronger than ever,” he said.
Norwest declined to comment on the sale. International Imaging was also previously owned by Centre Partners, which bought the company in 2000 from Paxar Corp. It’s unclear if Centre Partners still held a stake in the company at the time of the sale to Altius, but the company is not listed as a portfolio company on the Centre Partners’ website.
Greenberg and Marshall said International Imaging Materials is focusing heavily on international expansion, growing in locales like Brazil and expanding into Asia. According to Greenberg, roughly half of the company’s sales already come from its export business. The company has two chief competitors, but a host of smaller players exist in the market as well, which may ultimately provide some add-on targets.
The International Imaging Materials deal is Altus’ second investment from its sophomore fund, Altus Capital Partners II LP, which closed with $200 million late last year. The first deal from Fund II was made in November, with the firm’s acquisition of Models & Tools, which makes tooling systems for commercial, defense and aerospace customers.
Website: Altus Capital Partners – http://www.altuscapitalpartners.com
Website: IIMAK – http://www.iimak.com
Website: Norhwest Equity Partners – http://www.nep.com