The major players behind J2 Acquisition Ltd. the special purpose acquisition corporation, that earlier this week announced it was acquiring New Brighton-based APi Group are familiar with APi Group’s growth through acquisition strategy.
It was a strategy that the J2’s founders Martin Franklin, James Lillie and Ian Asken used to great effect in building the consumer products company Jarden Corp.
What became known as Jarden Corp. was initially spun out of the Ball Corporation in 2001. With Franklin as its CEO the company assembled as many as 120 consumer brands including Ball, Yankee Candle, and FoodSaver and in one of its last acquisitions Jarden acquired Edina-based Jostens Corp., the maker of school rings and yearbooks.
Jarden picked up Jostens when it acquired Jostens’ parent company Visant Holding Corp. for approximately $1.5 billion in Nov. 2015. (In 2018 Newell sold Jostens to Platinum Equity, a private equity firm based in Beverly Hills, Calif. for approximately $1.3 billion and now Jostens is part of Platinum’s portfolio of more than 40 companies.)
Shortly after Jarden acquired Jostens, Jarden was subsequently acquired by Newell Rubbermaid in Dec 2015 for more than $15 billion.
Under terms of that Jarden/Newell deal Franklin, Lillie and Ashken received golden parachute payments (cash and equity payments owed to certain executive officers at the time of a deal closing as stated in their employment agreements) of approximately $350 million.
That group undoubtably used a portion of their proceeds from the Newell Rubbermaid deal and raised more money from investors to fund J2 Acquisition Ltd. with the $1.2 billion they are using in the deal for the APi Group.
Franklin, Lillie and Ashen will sit on the new board of directors for APi Group and hope to replicate the success they had at Jarden.