Based in Spokane, Washington, Old World Christmas is a leading designer and distributor of one of the most extensive and best-beloved collections of blown glass ornaments, table top figurines, vintage-style light covers and nostalgic greeting cards. With over 2,000 different designs introduced over the past 35 years, Old World Christmas is a recognized category leader globally. The owners approached Meridian and expressed interest in a complete exit of the business. Challenges unique to the company included an obvious seasonal sales cycle, no apparent management succession plan and supply chain concentration issues.
Given Meridian’s deep consumer sector experience, a comprehensive list of relevant private equity and strategic acquirers was pursued. The list included groups with deep experience in seasonal sales, groups with proven management resources to fill holes exited by owners and groups with well-established experience managing global suppliers. Our positioning to the buyer groups also focused on a number of untapped growth opportunities including: increased licensing opportunities, increased online presence, continued international expansion, leverage of significant design portfolio into adjacent products, and channel development.
The process yielded very strong interest from both private equity and strategic investors. In total, over 30 investors requested materials and 7 submitted preliminary indications of interest. Using criteria such as valuation, cultural fit of management team, and capacity to execute on significant growth opportunities, five groups were invited to attend management meetings, with all groups submitting LOIs.
The transaction was ultimately completed with Gladstone Investment Corporation, a private equity group with complementary experience in consumer, executing growth strategies and delivering strong leadership in transition situations. The owners received a strong valuation, the ownership transition was successfully executed and company has continued to grow post transaction.