Littlejohn & Co.-backed alphabroder, which distributes imprintable sportswear and accessories in the U.S., has acquired Ash City Worldwide, a North American promotional apparel manufacturer and supplier. Ash City is alphabroder’s second acquisition since Littlejohn led the recapitalization of Broder and took control of the board of directors. The company previously acquired Imprints Wholesale in 2012.
alphabroder, the leading distributor of imprintable sportswear and accessories in the United States, announced today the acquisition of Ash City Worldwide (“Ash City”), one of North America’s leading promotional apparel manufacturers and suppliers. The combination of the companies creates North America’s leading seamless-source provider of promotional apparel.
alphabroder recently rebranded from its previous name Broder Bros, Co, to unite the company’s brands under a single umbrella and create simplified business practices and clear company messaging.
The companies will leverage alphabroder’s existing national distribution platform and Ash City’s market leading brands, sourcing and design capabilities as well as its leading Canadian presence. The combination immediately makes alphabroder the leading North American seamless-source supplier of trade, retail and private label branded apparel, including t-shirts, outerwear, corporate apparel, and fleece to the promotional and corporate apparel industry. alphabroder expects to leverage the broad suite of capabilities within both companies to better service its customers.
“This transformational acquisition creates an industry leader that delivers a comprehensive selection of promotional apparel with an unmatched distribution network and customer support. For over 35 years Ash City has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through its innovative products, strong customer service and expanding product portfolio,” said Norman Hullinger, CEO of alphabroder. “The addition of Ash City is our first step toward international expansion and further secures our position as the North American industry leader and innovator in the promotional apparel space,” said Dan Pantano, President of alphabroder.
“We are thrilled that Doug Hayes will remain as President, alphabroder, Canada and Rob Meier will remain as CFO, alphabroder, Canada,” added Mr. Pantano. “Together, the combination of these two businesses is the natural evolution for our company and the industry. We look forward to better serving each of our customer bases as a result of the strengths inherent in combining our operational capabilities, product portfolios and geographic footprints. I look forward to joining with Norm and Dan and the entire alphabroder team as we expand our market share and product penetration in both the United States and Canada,” said Mr. Hayes.
Ash City offers six distinct brands: Ash City; Extreme®; North End®; North End Sport® Blue; North End Sport® and; Core 365. The newly combined company alphabroder has annual revenues exceeding $1 billion.
“We were pleased to support alphabroder in its efforts to build an industry leader with international reach and superior products and services,” said David Simon, a member of alphabroder’s Board of Directors and a Managing Director at private investment firm Littlejohn & Co., the largest shareholder in alphabroder. “This strategic acquisition is another important step in alphabroder’s continued evolution over the past 18 months. We look forward to additional opportunities to support alphabroder’s future growth as it seeks to build its portfolio and strengthen customer relationships and vendor partnerships.”
Ash City is alphabroder’s second acquisition since Littlejohn & Co. led the recapitalization of Broder and assumed control of the Board of Directors in 2012. The company previously acquired Imprints Wholesale in late 2012. A recently launched rebranding of the company as alphabroder commenced in January 2014 to develop a single brand platform that embodies and conveys the core values of all of the collective companies that make up alphabroder, now and into the future. The company’s family of brands includes Alpha Shirt Company, Broder, NES Clothing Company, Imprints Wholesale and Ash City.
About Littlejohn & Co., LLC
Littlejohn & Co. is a Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm investing in middle-market companies that are undergoing a fundamental change in capital structure, strategy, operations or growth that can benefit from its operational and strategic approach. The firm is currently investing from Littlejohn Fund IV, L.P., which has over $1.3 billion in capital commitments. For more information, visit www.littlejohnllc.com.
Founded in 1919, formerly known as Broder Bros., Co., alphabroder is the nation’s largest distributor of trade, private label and retail apparel brands and merchandise to the imprinting, embroidery and promotional product industries. alphabroder offers more than 40 brands including a broad selection of trade brands from Gildan, Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Jerzees and Bella + Canvas to an extensive assortment of retail brands including Adidas Golf, Ashworth, Champion, Russell Athletic, alternative and Dickies. With the addition of Ash City, alphabroder also offers industry-leading private label brands including Ash City, North End, Core 365, Devon & Jones, Chestnut Hill, and Harriton.