Blackford Capital (“Blackford”) today announced the sale of its Imagining Supplies Consolidation (ISC II) portfolio companies to CWG International, Inc.
Blackford entered the aftermarket toner and cartridge supply industry in 2017 with the acquisition of Online Tech Stores.com (OTS). ISC II – including International Toner Company, Supplies Wholesalers and Cartridge World USA – joined the OTS platform in 2019 when the toner cartridge industry was enjoying solid year over year growth. Prior to the ISC II acquisition, Blackford boasted a proven a track record in the imaging industry, having created one of the industry’s first managed print services (MPS) platforms and dealer organizations through a total of 6 acquisitions in less than 20 months, and resulting in an 5X return for investors.
Under Blackford ownership, significant investments were made in ISC II to create value and growth for all parties, including investors, customers, employees, communities and suppliers.
Unfortunately, the global COVID-19 pandemic, associated supply chain issues and a shift in employee work situations had a profound impact on the printing industry, dramatically changing market conditions as government agencies, schools, colleges and businesses of all sizes simply closed.
Ultimately, Blackford’s decision to accelerate its exit from ISC II was primarily due to this unrecoverable decline in print volumes in the United States along with much higher logistics and supply chain costs driven by increased tariffs, enormous freight and container costs and ever-increasing lead and transit times from Chinese producers.
“Exiting ISC II was part of our strategy to refocus Blackford’s portfolio on investments more aligned with changing economic conditions and more promising opportunities,” said Martin Stein Founder and Managing Director of Blackford Capital. “Despite our best efforts, the performance and results of ISC II were inconsistent with Blackford’s track record of high performance and value to our shareholders so we made the difficult, but right decision to sell the companies and focus our time and efforts on growth and value creation for our family of investors in other vertical markets.”
The company’s new owner, CWG International, has a 50-year legacy in the imaging industry and is one of the largest aftermarket companies in the space. We are confident they will be excellent stewards going forward and have the business model to optimize market potential for the ISC II companies.
About Blackford Capital
Founded in 2010, Blackford Capital is a private equity investment firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Blackford acquires, manages, and builds founder and family-owned, lower middle-market companies, with a focus on the manufacturing, industrial and distribution industries. With a reputation for a relentless approach to value creation and a focus on operational excellence, Blackford was named the Private Equity Firm of the Year by M&A Advisor in 2021 and 2018. The firm has also received Deal of the Year honors from M&A Advisor in multiple categories, and its portfolio companies have also been included on the Inc. 5000. For more information, visit www.blackfordcapital.com.