Friday, March 19, 2010 Promo products biz Relay Gear acquired Business First of Columbus
The ranks of Central Ohio’s locally owned promotional products firms have been thinned by one.
Columbus-based Relay Gear Ltd. recently announced a deal to be acquired by Halo/Lee Wayne of Sterling, Ill., for an undisclosed sum. Relay Gear is the second-largest promotional products business in the region, with $5.4 million in 2009 revenue and 18 employees, according to Columbus Business First research.
Both companies said the deal calls for transferring some office functions for Relay Gear to Illinois while the company’s sales staff will remain in Columbus, eventually selling under the Halo Branded Solutions moniker. The company also manages the Lee Wayne Corp. brand of promotional products, an $18 billion yearly industry for pens, bags, apparel and other products with company logos.
Relay Gear Vice President Bob Southard in a release said that working through Halo will allow the company to better serve “increasingly complex” customer needs.
Halo said its deal for Relay Gear brings on a company with a high-profile national presence in a niche market. Relay Gear specializes in branding, company stores and catalog programs, incentive and recognition programs and fulfillment.
Relay was founded in 2001 and last year ranked as one of the only three promotional products businesses in the region to surpass the $5 million revenue mark. The largest industry player on the local scene is Columbus-based Leaderpromos.com.
A modest acquisition, but something tells me they all add up. I believe this is the third or fourth bolt-on addition to Halo in the past 18 months.
Although I'm not privy to any inside information, I would be shocked if we don't have 1-2 new companies added this year, in contrast to bolt-ons. I am basing this guess on Manuel's stmt in the CC that "investor's patience (regarding acquisitions) will be rewarded," or similar words. I don't consider two (or more) modest bolt-ons to be "new acquisitions." Of course, only time will tell, but the emphasis in his voice when he made the statement suggested to me that we were relatively close to an announcement. (I was also thinking that a pending announcement might explain the recent price activity of CODI ... consistent new highs in an otherwise lackluster market. Or the price activity could be divi chasers, too. But I've been talking about these mysterious acquisitions since last year's secondary, so what do I know?)