NEBS Acquires Fossler For $27M

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New England Business Service Inc. announced its acquisition yesterday of certain assets of Stephen Fossler Company Inc. and its affiliates for $27 million in cash, subject to a post-closing working capital adjustment.

Privately held Fossler manufactures and markets embossed anniversary seals and distributes retail store signage and commemorative specialty products via direct mail in North America and the United Kingdom. Fossler, Crystal Lake, IL, generated about $20 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year ending in September.

The brand name will be retained.

NEBS, Groton, MA, has about 3.1 million small-business customers in North America, the UK and France. It provides checks, forms and other printed material that is marketed via direct mail, telesales, a direct sales force, dealers, distributors and the Internet. It also designs, embroiders and sells specialty apparel through distributors and independent sales representatives to the promotional products/advertising specialty industry.

"This represents a very logical acquisition for NEBS and is the right place for Fossler," said Don Libey, president of Libey-Concordia, a Philadelphia-based advisory and investment banking firm that represented Stephen Fossler Company. "The anniversary label line and other products are ideal fits for NEBS' future growth."

Daniel Junius, NEBS' executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the acquired company's ability to market and manufacture high-quality embossed foil seals was part of the reason for the deal.

"We've been interested in getting into areas that complement our expertise and some of that is channel-related," he said. "Their focus, in addition to being in the small business market, is marketing to events associated with companies, particularly a company's anniversary."

Prior to the acquisition, NEBS' annualized sales were about $700 million. It was NEBS' second acquisition in the last seven months. Last June it acquired Safeguard Business Systems, a business-to-business marketer of checks and other business-related forms.

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