Private Equity Firm Vs. Portfolio Company CEO?

What on earth is going on between Monitor Clipper Partners and Jude Rake, CEO of Monitor Clipper portfolio company Recycled Paper Greetings. To say they aren’t on the same page would be an understatement.

Back in September, RPG and Rake seemed to believe they were under attack from larger rival American Greetings. Specifically, they were upset about American Greetings buying over 50% of Recycled Paper’s first-lien debt. Rake referred to the move as “predatory,” and Monitor Clipper filed suit against American Greetings, arguing that the purchase violated a confidentiality agreement between the two companies.

Then last week it appeared that the chill had thawed. American Greetings announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire RPG, which would first file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to restructure its debt. In a formal statement, Rake said: “This acquisition is good news for our company on many fronts.”

But it seems that Monitor Clipper Partners is still siding with Rake’s original assessment. In a press release issued late last Friday, Monitor Clipper managing partner Travis Metz said:

“We strongly oppose the actions taken by American Greetings leading to the filing today of the bankruptcy. We believe American Greetings has been engaged in a series of actions that reflect its own inability to compete effectively in the attractive humor segment of the greetings card market. Through its unlawful actions, we believe American Greetings is attempting to eliminate Recycled Paper Greetings as a competitor, in an effort to gain more widespread traction in the lucrative market segment in which Recycled Paper Greetings excels.”

Metz declined to comment further in an email last night, except to say that both the statement and ongoing lawsuit speak for themselves.