Investment firm buys ownership stake in American Greetings

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CLEVELAND — The New York investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice is buying a 60% ownership stake in American Greetings Corp. The Weiss Family, descendants of company founder Jacob Sapirstein, will retain a 40% stake in the business and will remain on the company’s board.

“American Greetings is a clear market leader with a strong portfolio of valuable brands,” said CD&R Partner Ken Giuriceo. “We are very pleased to partner with the Weiss family and American Greetings’ talented management team and to be aligned around a set of identified actions to strengthen the company’s competitive positioning and prospects for sustainable, long-term growth and profitability.”

Upon the close of the transaction, John Beeder, current president and chief operating officer, will become chief executive officer. Zev Weiss and Jeffrey Weiss, current co-CEOs, and Morry Weiss, current chairman, will step down from those positions. David Scheible, an operating advisor to CD&R funds and former chairman and chief executive officer of Graphic Packaging, will assume the role of chairman of American Greetings. John Compton, a CD&R operating partner and former president of Pepsico, will be actively involved with the business and serve on the company’s board.

“We believe the deep operating expertise that Clayton, Dubilier & Rice brings to us makes them an ideal strategic partner,” said Zev Weiss.

Jeffrey Weiss concurred.

“They have an outstanding track record of success and a strong reputation for trustworthiness and operational leadership and we look forward to working closely together and continuing to serve the interests of American Greetings’ customers, employees, and suppliers,” he said.



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