August 24, 2023 – IVEST Consumer Partners, a private equity general partner specializing in direct deals (more on this below) and an expert in consumer, retail, licensing and franchising, is paying $100 million in equity and debt for Cloudco Entertainment, owner of the rights to the Care Bears and other characters and games, including Holly Hobbie and Mad Balls.
Cloudco, spun out from greeting card giant American Greetings in 2018, is being sold by the latter group’s founders, the Weiss family, with the current management team staying on. “Along with existing management, we’ve got the means and experience to expand Cloudco with new partnerships, acquisitions, licensees and geographies,” says IVEST founding partner, George Jones.
Jones is a former CEO of major retail chains, including Saks Department Store Group, Roses Stores and book seller Borders. As Executive Vice President of Target he played a key role in creating the blueprint for its success. He was the first notable merchant to run a major licensing operation when he was appointed in 1994 as President of Warner Bros Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Warner Bros Entertainment Group of Companies. There, he pioneered Retail Business Development licensing programs, growing the division’s yearly profit by 27 percent annually and increasing annual sales over twofold to $7 billion.
The Retail Business Development method Jones and his team introduced, now widely accepted as industry best practice, involves working directly with retailers (previously left to licensees) to proactively create curated merchandise presentations and marketing programs, often involving multiple licensees and product categories. The method provides retailers with a comprehensive turnkey solution and increases shelf space and visibility for licensees. Jones went on to co-found IVEST in 2013 along with veteran private equity executive, Sam Bremner, Jones’ co-managing partner, and IVEST partner, Aston Loch. They were soon joined by several IVEST operating partners who were senior executives at Warner Bros with Jones and played key roles in that success.
“The IVEST investment style exemplifies the advantages of private equity deals done outside of fund structures or co-investment programs [such deals are known as directs],” says Matt Swain, global CEO of private equity advisor Triago. “These partnerships between operationally-expert managers and investors focused on a single identifiable asset can really bring outperformance to a private equity program. With everyone focused on a single asset, directs offer more influence and agency to investors and align interests in razor-fine fashion. Institutional investors are lining up to invest with top direct houses like IVEST.” Triago raised the capital for the acquisition of Cloudco and for several previous IVEST deals. The deal’s debt advisor is Raymond James, the debt provider is BankUnited, a noted specialist in intellectual property financing, and the financial advisor is Intrepid Investment Bankers.
The Cloudco investment was more than two times oversubscribed by investors and is IVEST’s seventh direct transaction. Equity was provided by a range of institutional investors and family offices, including Cloverlay, and ShoreBridge Capital Partners, the latter in conjunction with their family office clients.
Cloudco’s Care Bears have achieved over $5 billion in retail sales since their creation in 1982 as greeting card illustrations. The Care Bears currently star as plush toys and in their own animated television series. They’re also licensed in a diverse range of other products. Driven by the marquee Care Bears brand, Cloudco has more than doubled its profitability over the last four years. “We aim to accelerate that trend, investing in the existing platform and adding value through complementary intellectual property acquisitions,” says IVEST operating partner and former Warner Bros head of International Licensing, Mark Matheny.
Matheny will serve as Cloudco’s Chairman, with Jones, Bremner, Loch and IVEST partner, Chris Munyan joining the board. Typical of IVEST’s emphasis on operational expertise, Munyan has over 24 years of experience serving in C-suite positions at consumer product companies.
About IVEST Consumer Partners – Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Vancouver and Los Angeles, Ivest is an operationally-focused private equity investor in consumer, retail and licensing companies. Over the years, the 11-person IVEST team has helped pioneer best-in-practice licensing and franchising arrangements. Today, IVEST invests in the lower-middle market on a direct, deal-by-deal basis to better align its interests with those of investors. The firm manages over $500 million in assets and has achieved an 8-fold return on realized investments. https://www.ivestconsumer.com/
Contact: David Lanchner, email@example.com, +33 6 33 43 50 76