Published in Finance

Blackford Capital invests in Cartridge World

BY MIBIZ STAFF Friday, December 27, 2019 08:31am

GRAND RAPIDS — Private equity firm Blackford Capital Inc. purchased the U.S. brand licensing rights to Cartridge World, a franchised printing consumables brand. 

With the deal, Blackford will now oversee the master franchisees nationwide in McHenry, Ill.-based Cartridge World. Blackford aims to help franchises grow via implementing business model changes and adapting to business trends, including bundling hardware and supplies, signing longer-term contracts and shifting focus to small businesses and the home office market, according to a statement. 

Blackford Capital Managing Director Martin Stein COURTESY PHOTO

In the last 18 months, the company has recently expanded from selling ink and toner to offering other products and services at its franchise locations. 

Stamford, Conn.-based Small Business Community Capital provided debt financing as part of the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, a platform affiliate of Blackford raised nearly $1.6 million in equity from 80 investors, according to a federal securities filing.

The latest raise was part of a mandatory capital call for investors in the platform, which in February 2018 invested in Reno, Nev.-based Online Tech Stores, a wholesale distributor of aftermarket imaging supplies and accessories, including laser printer toner cartridges, ink cartridges and other products.

Blackford Capital also previously invested in Quality Imaging Products, Rhinotek and Bond Street, all of which operate in the imaging supplies industry and complement the deal for Cartridge World. 

“The Cartridge World story is remarkable, expanding its reputation as the world’s largest ink and toner retailer to provide full-service print solutions with a continued focus on customer service, and we are excited by the opportunity to further our leadership platform within the imaging supplies space,” Blackford Capital Managing Director Martin Stein said in a statement. “The company has settled into a highly profitable niche segment of the market, and Cartridge World’s wealth of resources and ability to profitably service home, small, mid-size and enterprise without the dependency of expensive hardware, will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for industry disruption.”

Cartridge World North America CEO Mark Pinner will remain with the company. 

“The firm will help facilitate supply chain improvements critical to our refocused, service-oriented business model, as we continue to develop and grow our network and product options to the ultimate benefit of our customers and franchise owners,” Pinner said of Blackford Capital. 

Earlier this year, Blackford Capital sold Walker-based portfolio company Custom Profile Inc. in an employee stock ownership plan, as MiBiz previously reported.

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