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Blackford Capital Completes Investment in Cartridge World

Deal represents private equity firm's latest strategic add-on investment in imaging supplies


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackford Capital, a national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, today announced its investment in the U.S. business of Cartridge World, a franchised network for the leading printing consumables brand. Blackford has completed an investment in the Cartridge World brand through the purchase of the brand licensing rights covering the United States territory.

Headquartered in McHenry, Illinois, the Cartridge World U.S. business operates nearly 230 franchised retail store locations. The brand and franchise are internationally renown for high-quality ink and toner products, with the company's locally owned and operated full print solution providers expanding their product and service offerings extensively over the past 18 months.  Cartridge World is the largest international retail brand in the aftermarket imaging supplies industry. In its early days, Cartridge World was selected as the top franchiser in the United States for three years in a row:  2007, 2008, and 2009.  Internationally, the brand has locations in 70 different countries across the globe.  

The Cartridge World regional segment acquired in this transaction oversees a network of master franchisees in the U.S. territory, which provides Blackford a significant opportunity to enhance its U.S.-based supply chain and distribution relationships. Blackford intends to help franchisees grow their respective businesses by capitalizing on certain business model changes and taking advantage of key industry trends, such as bundling hardware and supplies, establishing longer-term contracts with customers, and focusing on the small and home office markets.

"Blackford and its operating partners bring a tremendous amount of industry experience to the table in addition to their strategic, financial, and operational experience," said Mark Pinner, CEO of Cartridge World North America. "We are excited to partner with Blackford and benefit from the firm's 20-plus years of industry experience; they will serve as an extremely valuable resource to both Cartridge World and our franchisee network. The firm will help facilitate supply chain improvements critical to our refocused, service-oriented business model, as we continue to develop and grow our network and product options to the ultimate benefit of our customers and franchise owners."

Cartridge World represents Blackford's latest platform investment. Blackford invests in lower-middle market manufacturing, distribution and service companies throughout the United States. Blackford Capital current roster includes 11 other active portfolio companies, and the firm's extensive experience and executive relationships in the imaging supplies industry—with previous investments and strategic leadership in Online Tech Stores, Quality Imaging Products, Rhinotek and Bond Street—will help capitalize on the synergistic value this partnership represents. 

"The Cartridge World story is remarkable, expanding its reputation as the world's largest ink and toner retailer to provide full-service print solutions with a continued focus on customer service, and we are excited by the opportunity to further our leadership platform within the imaging supplies space," said Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital. "The company has settled into a highly profitable niche segment of the market, and Cartridge World's wealth of resources and ability to profitably service home, small, mid-size and enterprise without the dependency of expensive hardware, will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for industry disruption. We see opportunities to leverage these scalable strengths while continuing to grow the business and are confident in Mark's ability as a seasoned industry veteran to execute on this vision for the brand."

Debt financing was provided by Small Business Community Capital.

About Blackford Capital 
Founded in 2000, Blackford Capital is a private equity investment firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Blackford Capital makes majority control investments in founder and family-owned, lower middle-market manufacturing, distribution, and services companies. Currently, Blackford Capital has eleven portfolio companies. Blackford and their team members have received a number of recognitions over the past several years, including M&A Adviser Private Equity Firm of the year, Corp. Magazine Small Company of the Year (Michigan), GR Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year (West Michigan), numerous recognitions on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies list and M&A Adviser Private Equity Professional of the Year (Martin Stein). For more information, visit blackfordcapital.com.

About Cartridge World
Cartridge World is the global leader in high-quality cartridges, printers, printer services and advice for both the home and office customer. Stores offer customers a tremendous cost-saving alternative to printing, offering a 30-percent discount over full-priced OEM cartridges and a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. Cartridge World has more than 600 franchised retail locations in over 70 countries. Cartridge World ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine's 2016 Franchise 500 list and No. 78 on Franchise Direct's list of the Top 100 Global Franchises and listed by the Silicon Review as one of the '50 Most Admired Companies' of 2016.

About Small Business Community Capital
Small Business Community Capital II (SBCC) is a GIIRS-rated, CRA-certified SBIC Impact Fund that provides customized capital solutions including senior debt, subordinated debt, and equity in small and lower middle market companies in the United States. SBCC seeks to enable sustainable growth and high-quality job creation by partnering with strong management teams at companies with at over $1 million in EBITDA and $5 million in revenues. SBCC believes in social transformation through entrepreneurial success and is playing a pivotal role in developing an ecosystem of Corporations, Entrepreneurs and Capital Providers/Enablers working together to transform and accelerate growth in small and midsized enterprises, with a particular emphasis on LMI enterprises and diverse-owned businesses.

Contact: 
Tyler Deur
Lambert & Co.
(616) 233-0500
tdeur@lambert.com

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SOURCE Blackford Capital