By Leslie Picker
CreditCraig Lassig for The New York Times
The Jarden Corporation said on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement to acquire Jostens Inc., which makes high-school memorabilia such as yearbooks and class rings, for about $1.5 billion, including debt.
Jarden, a consumer products company with more than 120 brands, obtained Jostens through the purchase of the Visant Holding Corporation, the parent of Jostens and related businesses, from a group of private-equity firms including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company and aPriori Capital Partners, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
Jarden’s shares were up about 2 percent in early afternoon trading after news of the transaction was disclosed. When it came to Jarden’s criteria for acquisition targets — such as market leaders, defensible businesses and cash generators — Jostens was the “sweet spot,” said Martin E. Franklin, the founder of Jarden.
“We’re taking a mature business that hasn’t been a grower for some time and we think we can grow it,” Mr. Franklin said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. He said he planned to use Jarden’s procurement and technology capabilities to help strengthen revenue growth at Jostens.
Jostens traces its history to 1897 in Owatonna, Minn., where Otto Josten, a jewelry repairman, created the class ring. The company was publicly traded from 1965 until 2000. Since then, it has cycled through several owners, and was ultimately acquired, along with two smaller companies in the textbook and printing industries, by the two buyout firms in 2004.
The deal will enhance Jarden’s gross profit and operating margins in 2016, James Lillie, the chief executive, said in the statement. Jostens has $740 million in annual revenue, which would have helped bring Jarden’s total to about $10 billion in the 12 months through June, the company said. Jarden expects the transaction to increase the company’s adjusted earnings per share in 2016.
The acquisition of Jostens comes after Jarden agreed in July to acquire the disposable dinnerware maker the Waddington Group for about $1.35 billion. This is the first year that Jarden has done two “sizable transactions,” Mr. Franklin said.
Barclays and Morgan Stanley were financial advisers to Jarden, while Kane Kessler served as legal counsel. Jefferies was Visant’s financial adviser and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was its legal counsel.
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