Yankee Candle Buys GBI for $13.5 Million

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The Yankee Candle Company Inc., South Deerfield, MA, announced its acquisition of GBI Marketing Inc. in a deal that closed yesterday.

GBI, founded in 1983, has been a privately owned and operated distributor of gifts, including Yankee Candle products, to fundraising organizations.

The deal amount was about $13.5 million in cash. The total included $3 million that is contingent upon reaching certain performance objectives in the next three years.

GBI serves customers from a distribution facility in Greenfield, MA. Its sales in fiscal 2003 totaled about $15.7 million. Yankee's incremental sales from the acquisition date through the end of 2004 are projected around $6 million, including $100,000 to $200,000 in the remaining weeks of Yankee's second quarter.

Harlan Kent, senior vice president of Yankee Candle's wholesale division, would not comment on specifics regarding the performance objectives that must be met related to the $3 million.

"We've been working with GBI Marketing as our distributor to the fundraising industry for ... over 10 [years]," he said.

GBI targets the fundraising sector, including tax-exempt organizations such as schools and charitable groups. Its focus is education based. Its five programs include the sale of candles and candle accessories, the Old Farmer's Almanac catalog along with Christmas ornaments and candy.

"The product is sold to the end consumer and shipped directly from GBI Marketing," Kent said. "Catalogs are sent to the groups. GBI Marketing sends the catalog to a school raising money, for example. Children go out and sell door to door, and then the products are shipped to the consumer."

GBI has about 30 employees. Reductions are not anticipated, he said. The Greenfield location is to be maintained for the foreseeable future.

"We expect to continue with the GBI team as well as some new Yankee Candle management as well," he said.

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