Amware Fulfillment Acquired by French Logistics Firm Staci

Amware and Staci merger heads feature

Amware Fulfillment CEO Harry Drajpuch (right) with Nicolas Morisse, chairman and president of Staci U.S. 

Amware Fulfillment, a third-party logistics firm focused on direct-to-customer commerce, has been acquired by French logistics provider Staci Group in a marriage that provides customers of both firms with entrance into markets in Europe and the U.S., respectively.

Terms of the stock transaction, which closed on Tuesday, were not disclosed. Staci is owned by French private equity firm Ardian, which acquired a majority stake in 2019. Amware, majority owned by Rotunda Capital Partners since 2014, has a five-year CAGR of 43%, hitting $200 million in 2022. It has about 200 clients, with concentrations in health and wellness, consumer goods and cosmetics.

Amware Fulfillment will continue to operate separately, bringing on Staci facilities to its network in Reno, NV and Jersey City, NJ, that opened in 2019, in addition to the 16 it currently owns. A third Staci facility in Memphis, TN, focused on medical device distributors, will run independently. Coincidentally, both firms were founded in 1989.

Combined Network

The total footprint of the combined entity includes 63 warehouses across France, Belgium, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. All told, the footprint in the U.S. and Europe is 9.8 million square feet. Staci has around 2,000 customers, with annual revenue of approximately $800 million.

According to Allied Market Research as cited in the American Journal of Transportation, the global 3PL market was estimated at $1.25 trillion in 2021, and is projected to reach $2.83 trillion by 2031, for a 10-year CAGR of 8.8%. The sector continues to grow here and globally as retailers and brands realize logistics and fulfillment aren’t core strengths, but it’s also extremely crowded and ripe for consolidation.

Coincidentally, global freight forwarder and contract logistics firm Yusen Logistics on Thursday said it had acquired New Jersey-based 3PL Taylored Services from private equity firm Saybrook. Taylored will become part of Yusen Logistics Americas but retain its branding. Japan-based Yusen, which operates in 47 countries, is acquiring 11 distribution centers near the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Savannah and Miami, as well as in Louisville, KY, totaling approximately 2.9 million square feet of distribution space, effectively doubling its capacity.

Deal in the Works Since 2019

Harry Drajpuch, CEO of Amware Fulfillment, said conversations with Staci go back to mid-2019, and started getting serious in the third quarter of last year. He said many of Amware’s customers were very interested in pursuing opportunities in Europe, as the U.S. ecommerce market is much more saturated, but it wasn’t a capability his firm possessed.

“When you’re based here, it’s difficult to go there efficiently, so if you can find someone to help you get there it’s all the more valuable,” Drajpuch said. “There’s a lot of pressure from companies asking, are you going to open up in Europe, and if not, they could potentially find someone who would. So, it was in our best interests to find someone to grow and merge with in Europe, and Staci was the perfect partner.”

Nicholas Morisse, chairman and president of Staci U.S., said his firm’s international business represented 59% of sales prior to the acquisition. Just under half its revenue comes from retail, another 20% from ecommerce and the balance is from medical devices, point-of-sale promotional materials and spare parts for manufacturing in different verticals.

European Clients Looking at U.S. Market

The business combination, Morisse said, presents “a fantastic playground” to support Staci’s European clients, who sometimes operate in four or five countries, and want a single entity to manage their product flow on both continents. “It is also a great opportunity for our American customers who will need real support in Europe and its local complexities,” he said.

Drajpuch said Staci had taken three years to start growing its U.S. business through new facilities in New Jersey and Nevada. So when it was considering how to expand in this market, acquisition made more sense.

“They were under the same pressures we were,” he said. “You take a step back and realize, if it took a couple years going from greenfield to now, you’re not getting to the U.S. market as fast as your customers demand you do.”

Matisse said Amware Fulfillment was chosen because of its U.S. footprint and coverage, the experience and industry knowledge of its team, “and especially because we share the same DNA.” In its 2023 profile as part of Multichannel Merchant’s Top 3PL directory, Amware said it can reach 90% of the continental U.S. in two days via standard ground shipping.

Matisse said the combination is synergistic in terms of Staci’s strengths in business intelligence (BI) and artificial intelligence (AI), while Amware is further along in terms of implementing robotics and automation, practices that can be cross-pollinated. “From an operational point of view, we will take advantage of the best of both,” he said.