PE-backed American Achievement acquires Gaspard

American Achievement Corp, a portfolio investment of U.S. private equity firm Fenway Partners, has agreed to buy Gaspard LP, a provider of academic regalia, clergy vestments, choral robes, and legal and judicial attire. No financial details were disclosed for the transaction that is expected to be completed in July 2015. Update: Following the acquisition’s close, Gaspard will remain headquartered in Winnipeg and will continue to be led by current President and Chief Executive Officer David Blatt. The company was founded in 1909.


Balfour Agrees to Acquire Gaspard

Enhances Company’s Academic Regalia Offerings and Expands Geographic Reach to Canada and Puerto Rico

AUSTIN, TEXAS, June 29, 2015 – Leading yearbook and affinity company American Achievement Corporation, which operates primarily under the Balfour brand, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Gaspard LP, a North American manufacturer and distributor of academic regalia, clergy vestments, choral robes, and legal and judicial attire.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to the Company’s free cash flow within the first year of combined operations. Gaspard, which operates under the Artneedle, Willsie and University Cap & Gown brands, will remain headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada and continue to be led by current President and Chief Executive Officer David Blatt.

Steven Parr, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Achievement stated, “Gaspard is an outstanding company with a long history of manufacturing quality products and providing industry-leading customer service. Its offerings are a natural fit with the rest of the American Achievement portfolio – especially its academic regalia products, which will be an important new product for our customers and independent sales representatives to offer to students and parents.”

Mr. Parr continued, “In addition, the acquisition expands our geographic reach to both Canada and Puerto Rico, where we’ll be able to leverage Gaspard’s distribution channels to offer Balfour products in these markets. This is an exciting time for our company, and this acquisition underscores our commitment to expanding our offerings and our footprint.”

Mr. Blatt commented, “There is a clear and compelling strategic rationale for bringing together the strong brands and capabilities of Gaspard and Balfour and we are excited by the potential of the combination. Balfour is the ideal partner to help fuel our growth, particularly in the U.S. market, while at the same time preserving our rich heritage. I look forward to working with Steve and the rest of the Balfour team and their network of independent sales representatives to seize the market opportunities ahead.”

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in July 2015. The transaction is not subject to regulatory review.

About American Achievement

American achievement provides products that forever mark the special moments of people’s lives. As the parent company of brands such as ArtCarved®, Balfour®, Keepsake® and Taylor Publishing®, American achievement’s legacy is based upon the delivery of exceptional, innovative products, including class rings, yearbooks, graduation products, achievement publications and affinity jewelry through in-school and retail distribution. American achievement’s products are available through a variety of distribution methods, including direct sales to students in high schools and colleges, national jewelry retailers, independent jewelry stores and mass merchandisers. For more information on American achievement, please visit the company’s web site at

About Gaspard

Gaspard is a leading manufacturer and supplier of academic, judicial and religious regalia. The company has a dominant market position in Canada and Puerto Rico, and an established foothold in the U.S. market. Over its long history, Gaspard has maintained long-term client relationships and a reputation for providing high-quality products at competitive prices. Gaspard was founded in 1909 and has manufacturing and distribution locations throughout North America.

Sard Verbinnen & Co
Brooke Gordon/Brian Shiver, 212-687-8080

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