Private Equity Firm Reenters the Imaging Supplies Industry with Latest Investment
Blackford Capital Invests in Online Tech Stores
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., February 12, 2018-- Blackford Capital, a national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., announced its investment in Reno, Nevada-based Online Tech Stores (or "OTS"), a wholesale distributor of aftermarket imaging supplies and accessories, including: laser printer toner cartridges, ink cartridges, toner, copier toner, ribbons, thermal fax consumables, and other products and peripherals. OTS is Blackford's latest investment in its National Growth Practice, which invests in companies throughout the U.S., and the twelfth portfolio company currently invested in by Blackford Capital. Debt financing was provided by Fifth Third Bank, with support from syndicate partners Union Bank and Zions Bank, and OFS Capital Corporation. Corporate Finance Associates represented Online Tech Stores in the transaction.
"Blackford brings a tremendous amount of industry experience to the table, in addition to their strategic, financial, and operational experience. We're thrilled to be partnering with Blackford and their talented team as we look to continue to expand OTS," said Bob Willmes, CEO of Online Tech Stores. "While we've seen significant growth in the past several years, we believe this partnership will enable OTS to add products and capabilities to continue to best meet the needs of our growing customer base."
Founded by Bob Willmes in 2009, OTS is now the largest importer of toner products in the United States, offering a comprehensive portfolio of over 3,000 products and providing industry-leading fulfillment times through strategically located distribution centers across the United States. OTS's management has over 100 years of combined experience in this industry. OTS currently employs over 100 people and operates in five facilities.
"OTS has achieved remarkable growth since its founding," said Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital. "The company is known throughout the industry for its quality products and superior customer service. We see opportunities to leverage these strengths and continue to grow the business. By partnering with CEO Bob Willmes—a seasoned, industry veteran who has made three previous successful business exits—and the experienced management team at OTS, we are confident that we can build upon OTS's legacy as a leader in the aftermarket imaging supplies market."
Blackford Capital has extensive experience in the imagine supplies industry, having previously invested in Quality Imaging Products, Rhinotek, and Bond Street. Additionally, Stein was named one of the five Most Influential Industry Leaders by "Recharger Magazine" in 2002 and 2003. Stein also served as treasurer of the International Imaging Technology Council from 2003 – 2006, wrote numerous articles on the industry, and served as a keynote speaker at dozens of industry trade shows.
In addition to OTS (Reno, NV), Blackford's National Growth Practice currently includes: McClarin Plastics (Hanover, PA) and Snowhite Hospitality (Bloomingdale, IL), with recent exits of Staging Concepts (Minneapolis, MN), and Key Health (Westlake Village, CA).
About Blackford Capital
Blackford Capital is a private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that acquires, manages and builds family-owned, lower middle-market manufacturing, distribution, and service companies. Blackford currently has 12 portfolio companies located across the United States and has been recognized as one of America's fastest growing private companies by Inc. 5000 in 2016 and 2017. For more information, visit www.blackfordcapital.com.
About Online Tech Stores
Founded in 2009, Online Tech Stores is headquartered in Reno, Nevada. OTS is a wholesale distributor of compatible imaging supplies and accessories, including: laser printer toner cartridges, ink cartridges, toner, copier toner, ribbon and thermal fax consumables. OTS goes to market as Supplies Wholesalers. For more information, visit www.supplieswholesalers.com.
About Fifth Third
Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. As of Dec. 31, 2017, the Company had $142 billion in assets and operated 1,154 full-service Banking Centers and 2,469 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to more than 54,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of Dec. 31, 2017, had $362 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $37 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Member FDIC.
About OFS Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: OFS)
OFS Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: OFS) is a business development company that provides debt and minority equity capital solutions to middle-market companies. The firm offers flexible financing to business owners and proven management teams, helping them achieve targeted growth, liquidity and ownership transition goals. For more information, please visit www.ofscapital.com.
About Corporate Finance Associates—Nebraska
The CFA—Nebraska office is the oldest and most successful mid-market, mergers and acquisitions advisory firm in the Nebraska/Iowa area. Founded in 1980 and based in Omaha, CFA—Nebraska focuses on serving the needs of sellers and buyers of businesses that will be sold for between $10 million and $100 million. For additional information, visit www.cfaw.com/omaha. Securities offered through Silver Oak Securities, member FINRA/SIPC. Corporate Finance Associates and Silver Oak Securities are separate entities.
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