Blackford Capital has invested in Online Tech Stores, an aftermarket distributor of print and imaging supplies. OTS chief executive officer Bob Willmes says, “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.”
OTS was founded in 2009 by Willmes, and touts itself as one of the largest importers of toner products across the U.S. The Reno, Nevada-based target sells a variety of more than 3,000 wholesale imaging supplies through “strategically located” distribution centers. OTS’ product list includes branded laser print toner cartridges, ink cartridges, toner, copier toner, ribbons and thermal fox consumables.
Blackford Capital is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based private equity firm that looks to acquire, manage and build family-owned businesses. The PE firm targets lower middle-market companies that serve the manufacturing, distribution and service companies. Blackford holds management experience in the image supplies industry, previously investing in Quality Imaging Products, Rhinotek and Bond Street.
Blackford Capital founder Martin Stein says, “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.”
Other deals involving office supplies and business services include: Office Depot Inc.’s (Nasdaq: ODP) buying IT service provider CompuCom to help the buyer bounce back from a slump in the retail world; and Sycamore Partners’ acquisition of Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) for approximately $6.9 billion in June 2017.
Fifth Third Bank (Nasdaq: FITB) provided debt financing on the deal, with assistance from syndicate partners Union Bank, Zions Bank and OFS Capital Corp (Nasdaq: OFS). Corporate Finance Associates served as financial adviser to Online Tech Stores on the deal.