Brand Addition Acquired By Private Equity Firm

One of Europe’s leading promotional products distributors has a new owner. U.K.-based Brand Addition, parent company of the St. Louis-headquartered distributorship of the same name, has been acquired by Elysian Capital from H.I.G. Capital.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, several U.K. news outlets cited sources that put the deal between just less than 50 million British pounds (about $64.5 million) and about 60 million pounds (about $77.4 million).

Brand Addition CEO Chris Lee told Counselor that Elysian bought a majority stake in the distributorship – and that the London-based private equity firm backs the company’s management and plans. “It’s business as normal – a continuity in team and strategy,” said Lee. “We look forward to the continuation of our current growth with Elysian.”

Elysian is excited about the investment. “Elysian is delighted to acquire such a high-quality business like Brand Addition, which is uniquely placed to serve its large international customers throughout the world,” said CEO Ken Terry.

About five years ago, H.I.G. teamed up with Lee and other senior executives of Brand Addition to reposition the business, increasing the range of service and geographic reach, and shifting the emphasis to focus on large corporate clients under long-term contracts. The strategy has proved successful. These days, Brand Addition serves major clients predominantly in the automotive, engineering, health and beauty, technology, and financial services industries. And sales are accelerating. Brand Addition generated revenue of about $100 million in 2016. The distributorship drove the 23% year-over-year rise through organic and acquisitive growth, including the acquisition of the former Gateway CDI in St. Louis, Lee told Counselor.

With offices in Europe, North America, Turkey, Russia and China, Brand Addition is well-positioned to continue growing, said Lee. “Through these locations we are seeking to support large corporations in the design, sourcing and delivery of their promotional merchandise requirements both regionally and globally,” he told Counselor. “There is huge organic growth potential within this area of our industry.”

In January 2016, Brand Addition acquired Gateway CDI, which began doing business under the U.K. company’s name. Gateway founder/president Chuck Fandos serves as general manager/CEO of Brand Addition’s U.S. operations. Fandos was Counselor’s 2016 Person of the Year.