Jostens, the once-troubled Edina maker of class rings and yearbooks, will be sold to Jarden Corp. in a $1.5 billion deal, the companies said Wednesday.
No layoffs are expected.
Jostens, with operations in Edina, Eagan and Owatonna and 3,500 workers nationwide, is the main operating unit of Visant Holding Corp., a holding company owned by KKR, aPriori Capital Partners and other private investment firms.
In buying Visant Holding, Jarden gains a well-known consumer brand to add to its arsenal of 120 product lines, including heavyweights such as Mr. Coffee, Oster kitchen products, Marmot and Rawlings sporting goods and Yankee Candle gifts.
“It will be fabulous,” said Jostens CEO Chuck Mooty, the well-known Minnesota businessman who also led turnarounds at Dairy Queen, Fairview Health Services and Faribault Woolen Mills. Mooty started in January 2014 at Jostens, which had seen sales decline from $850 million a decade ago to about $700 million last year. This year, the company halted the sales decline and even grew a bit, he said.
By introducing new digital apps for students, better administrative support for independent sales reps and new customized class jewelry, “we have stabilized the business and now we have to grow the business,” Mooty said.
He believes Jarden will continue the sales improvements that were seen this year.
“That is why we are excited. Their history is to nurture and to nourish great brands,” he said. “Jarden’s scale and track record of making long-term investments will provide Jostens the ability to innovate and develop powerful new products and services to accelerate our growth.”
As a result, no layoffs are expected. Jostens has 3,500 employees nationwide, including nearly 800 in Minnesota, Mooty said.
Jarden CEO Martin Franklin said in a statement that Jostens, founded in 1897, will be a good fit.
“Jostens’ experienced and talented management team provides a cultural fit with Jarden, in addition to the business offering a compelling financial and strategic value proposition,” he said.
Combined, Jostens and sister company Neff Co. will add about $740 million in annual revenue to the $9.3 billion Jarden. Jarden will pay about 7.5 times the value of Jostens’ adjusted earnings, officials said.
Once the acquisition is complete, Jostens will become part of Jarden’s Outdoor Solutions segment.
The deal is the latest chapter for Jostens, which has been transforming for nearly two years.
For example, beyond yearbook apps, the company introduced an app that lets school administrators text secure messages to parents and students and another app that provides school yearbook clubs with inspirational “best of the best” ideas from schools around the world.
Another change was to combat the decrease in class ring sales. Last quarter, the company introduced personalized dog tags that students could design themselves. They are selling well, Mooty said, adding that their success shows that Jostens performs much better when it focuses on what this generation of customers crave.
Currently, Jostens generates 45 percent of its revenue from printed and digital yearbook products and 45 percent from class rings, personalized jewelry tags, caps, gowns, diplomas and other products for high schools.
Product sales to colleges and professional sports teams account for about 10 percent. The firm is the leading seller of championship rings to pro teams.