NEBS Buys Stephen Fossler Co.

Groton, MA-based business forms and packaging supplies marketer New England Business Service (NEBS) on Jan. 7 acquired certain assets of Stephen Fossler Co., a manufacturer of embossed anniversary seals and a marketer of store signage and commemorative specialty products. The $27 million cash purchase price is subject to a postclosing working capital adjustment.

NEBS has no immediate plans to consolidate Stephen Fossler in any way, says chief financial officer Daniel Junius. Crystal Lake, IL-based Stephen Fossler has some processes “we’re very familiar with,” Junius says, such as event/celebration marketing to businesses.

“We do see some expertise from Fossler in event marketing, which is something we haven’t done in the past and would like to explore a broader application of it,” Junius says. “Although the product category isn’t entirely new to us, Fossler brings it to market in a unique way.”

Beyond that, however, the acquisition is primarily intended to add another property to the NEBS stable, which includes the Rapidforms, Russell & Miller, and McBee catalogers. “It’s not a synergy play as we’ve made with other acquisitions,” Junius says, such as when the company bought McBee, which brought a field sales force into the company at the time.

Fossler, which does 90% of its business in the U.S., and the rest in Canada and the United Kingdom, distributes two catalogs: a namesake book that offers promotional products to tie in with anniversaries and event celebrations, and Sale! Sign, which sells in-store displays and sale tags. Fossler’s primary marketing thrust, however, is through solo mailers and its manufacturing capabilities. In fact, several Fossler products are currently offered in the NEBS’s flagship and Chiswick catalogs.