GTCR spends $1bn on craft companies

Chicago-based GTCR Golder Rauner has added Wilton Industries and Dimensions Holdings to its growing craft empire.

GTCR Golder Rauner has made two new acquisitions in the craft industry: a food crafting company, Wilton Industries, and a scrapbook and paper craft company, Dimensions Holdings. The acquisitions were made through GTCR’s portfolio company EK Success, also a maker of scrapbook materials, for $1 billion (€730 million), including $200 million in equity and $800 million in debt.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia co-invested with GTCR, committing $10 million of the total equity investment. MSLO will hold an 11 percent stake in the resulting company, which will operate under the name Wilton Products.

The acquisitions are part of GTCR’s long-term strategy to build a multi-product craft company.

“The craft sector is a more than $30 billion sector with very attractive growth, but it’s incredibly fragmented,” said GTCR principle Vince Hemmer.

Hemmer said Wilton Products will continue to add-on high quality craft brands, enabling the company to coordinate a retailer’s entire craft offering.

GTCR acquired EK Success in February 2006, at which time the private equity firm first partnered with MSLO. Stewart designed a line of paper-based craft products for EK Success, which is currently sold at craft store chain Michael’s, also the subject of $6 billion buyout by The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital in 2006.

In addition to holding equity in Wilton Products, MSLO has signed a 20 year lease to develop branded craft products for the company.

The firm focuses on the business services and outsourcing, consumer products and services, healthcare, technology and transaction processing sectors. GTCR currently manages more than $8 billion in assets.