PE-owned Bendon acquires Artistic Studios

Bendon, a portfolio company of Wicks, has acquired Artistic Studios. No financial terms were disclosed. Based in San Francisco, Artistic Studios is a maker and seller of children’s activity products and art sets.


ASHLAND, Ohio, Aug. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Bendon, Inc. (“Bendon”) today announced the acquisition of Artistic Studios, Ltd., LLC (“ASL”). The acquisition of ASL by Bendon, which is owned by Wicks Capital Partners IV, L.P. (“Wicks”) and management, provides an entry into the premium craft market and further solidifies Bendon’s position as a leader in the U.S. children’s coloring and activity sector. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

ASL produces and sells premium children’s activity products, art sets, and crafts in various retail channels in the U.S. and abroad with a strong distribution presence in the wholesale clubs. ASL’s products are primarily sold into toy and craft departments within larger retailers at higher price points than the majority of Bendon’s current offerings.

Ben Ferguson, CEO of Bendon, said: “We have closely followed the ASL business over the past few years and have been impressed with its product portfolio and distribution footprint both domestically and abroad. As we continue to grow, this acquisition provides a natural upmarket extension into the adjacent craft and activity segment. ASL’s complementary products and distribution network immediately give us significant opportunities to expand our reach with new retailers and within new departments of existing retailers as well as to grow our international presence.”

“The acquisition of ASL represents an exciting opportunity to expand Bendon’s product offerings, distribution, scale, and geographic reach,” said Daniel L. Black, Managing Partner at Wicks. “The Bendon team has done an excellent job securing industry-leading retail presence including a stronghold in the value segment of the market. Along with our purchase of Dalmatian in 2013, this acquisition firmly cements Bendon’s position as a leader in the fragmented U.S. children’s activity products sector and propels the company into its next phase of growth.”

Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe, LLP served as legal counsel to Bendon on the transaction.

About Wicks (
Wicks is a New York-based private equity firm that invests in selected segments of the information, education, and media industries. The firm currently invests or has invested on behalf of its funds in companies in educational content and services, business services and information, consumer information, healthcare information, radio and television broadcasting, and other media. Wicks will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2014.

About Bendon (
Based in Ashland, Ohio, Bendon is a leading designer and producer of children’s coloring and activity products in the U.S. The company has a licensed portfolio of the world’s most popular children’s characters and brands. Bendon sells more than 350 million units per year in more than 80,000 retail outlets in North America. In 2013, Bendon shipped its one billionth product.

About Artistic Studios (
Based in San Francisco, California, ASL primarily produces and sells premium children’s activity products, art sets, and crafts in various retail channels in the U.S. and abroad.