Cimpress, the Dutch parent company of Waltham, Massachusetts, distributor Vistaprint (PPAI 565755), has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire San Diego, California-based distributor National Pen Co. LLC (PPAI 107176). The transaction, first announced Monday in a PPB Newslink Breaking News alert, is for a purchase price of approximately $218 million and is expected to close as early as end of the month.

“Just like business cards, custom pens are a simple yet highly effective way for small-business owners to market their companies,” says Robert Keane, president and chief executive officer of Cimpress. “National Pen has tremendous mass customization and related supply chain capabilities, with which they deliver an unrivaled breadth and depth of customizable writing instruments with low minimum order quantities that meet the low-volume needs of small businesses. We look forward to welcoming National Pen’s team members and customers to Cimpress.”

As part of Cimpress, National Pen will continue to go to market as it does today, through its primary sales channel, which is a combination of direct mail and telesales. Additionally, Cimpress expects to support and further develop National Pen’s emerging e-commerce presence and to introduce the National Pen product range into its Vistaprint and Upload and Print e-commerce brands.

Cimpress has made significant investments in recent years to reduce the minimum order quantity required for custom promotional products and business apparel. Complementing these investments, National Pen has developed strong capabilities in the production of large numbers of very small orders of custom writing instruments and other hard goods.

Keane says, “National Pen is a clear leader in one of the key promotional product segments and has excellent manufacturing and supply chain capabilities which we do not have today. By combining the company's capabilities and expertise with those of Cimpress, we are confident we can help to grow both National Pen and the promotional products offering of our existing portfolio of brands."

He adds, "We believe National Pen has meaningful scale-based sourcing and production advantages which drive great customer value. The company also has strong competencies in direct marketing, telesales and data analytics, which have contributed to the consistent growth of its revenue."

Peter Kelly, National Pen’s president and chief executive officer, says, “We believe our industry is at the beginning of a period of disruptive shift to e-commerce, and we are thrilled about the opportunities that joining Cimpress will create for our customers and team members. We expect our business to thrive as part of Cimpress, and we look forward to pursuing an exciting vision together to strive to eliminate the cost barriers that currently keep businesses from fully expressing their individual brands across a wide variety of personally relevant marketing materials and gifts.”