Deluxe sells books-finally

Deluxe Corp., which had been searching for a buyer for its Current Social Expressions and Paper Direct titles since November 1996, finally found one. On Oct. 22, Taylor Corp., a $700 million-plus holding company, agreed to buy the paper products catalogs for an undisclosed amount. The deal, which doesn’t include Current’s check printing business, was expected to close by the end of December.

The North Mankato, MN-based Taylor owns 75 companies, mostly wedding invitation and other stationery-related manufacturers and distributors, such as Carlson Craft and Nuart. Last year, Taylor bought two other form- and check-printing businesses (Printovation and World’s Easiest) from Deluxe, a $1.7 billion payment forms manufacturer/distributor. As it has with most of its acquisitions, Taylor plans to allow Current and Paper Direct, whose combined sales exceed $230 million, to keep operating independently-although the future owner hasn’t ruled out any corporate shakeups. “We don’t see any immediate changes now, but it’s too early to confirm anything,” says Taylor president Brad Schreier.

Current, which sells greeting cards and gifts to consumers, and Paper Direct, which sells specialty papers to small companies, were both “businesses we’ve been interested in for a long time,” Schreier says. “They represent an extension of some of our stationery businesses.”

For Deluxe, which wants to focus solely on manufacturing and marketing checks and business forms, the sale of the two catalogs to Taylor caps a long search for a buyer. “Our original valuations for the catalogs weren’t in line with the market valuation,” says Deluxe spokesman Stu Alexander, explaining why the process was so lengthy. Earlier this year, Deluxe had come to an agreement with an unnamed buyer, but the buyer was unable to put together the necessary financing. At that time, Taylor initiated negotiations with Deluxe.

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