UPDATE: Alpha Packaging CEO Confirms Sale to Irving Place

Irving Place Capital looks to be closing in on another deal. The former Bear Stearns Merchant Banking is buying Alpha Packaging.

Stonebridge Partners, which invested in Alpha in 2005, is the seller. Last week, Bank of Ireland, GE Capital and BMO Capital Markets launched a $120 million loan to back the acquisition from Irving, a source says.

The loan is split between a $20 million revolver and a $100 million term loan, according to Standard & Poor’s Leveraged Commentary and Data.

It is not clear how much the deal is valued at. News of Alpha’s sale appeared today on the Federal Trade Commission web site that lists deals that have gained early regulatory approval.

Alpha Packaging, of St. Louis, makes plastic bottles and jars for the nutritional, pharmaceutical and personal care markets. Since being sold to Stonebridge, the company has made three add-on acquisitions and has combined sales of more than $115 million, according to the Alpha web site.

It is not clear how much Stonebridge invested in Alpha. The PE shop’s purchase of Alpha five years ago was valued at more than $50 million, according to press reports at the time. Stonebridge, of White Plains, N.Y., typically focuses on middle market manufacturing companies.

Alpha is the latest deal for Irving Place, which spun out of Bear Stearns Merchant Banking in early 2008 after the investment bank collapsed.  Irving Place earlier this month agreed to buy Pet Supplies Plus, a leading pet specialty retailer.

UPDATE: Dave Spence, Alpha’s CEO, confirmed the sale to Irving Place. Spence said they began thinking of selling Alpha in January and a process was started in May. BMO Capital Markets advised Alpha on the sale. Irving Place did not use an outside adviser.

“There was a lot of interest,” Spence said. “We’ve done very well through tough times.”

Spence and senior management are staying with the company. They are also rolling over a portion of their investment into the new company, he said. “I still have a lot of gas in my tank after doing this for 25 years,” Spence said. “I’m really excited about the opportunities that Irving Place can offer.”

He declined to disclose a deal value for the sale or even what Stonebridge invested five years ago. However, Alpha Packaging had $25 million in sales when it was sold in 2005. Sales now stand at $135 million, which is more than 5x.

Alpha employs about 550 people. No job cuts are expected. “We really pride ourselves on being humane . We’re proof that manufacturing in this country can make it,” he said.

Officials for Irving Place and Stonebridge could not be reached for comment.