American Greetings to sell majority stake of Westlake-based company

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - The American Greetings Corporation announced Tuesday an agreement to part ways with a 60 percent ownership stake to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

The company, which is headquartered in Westlake, designs, manufactures, and distributes greeting cards. It also specializes in gift packaging, stationary, and party goods.

The Weiss Family founded the company in 1906. They will retain a 40 percent stake in the business.

"We are very pleased to partner with the Weiss Family and American Greetings' talented management team and to be aligned around a set of identified actions to strengthen the company's competitive positioning and prospects for sustainable, long-term growth and profitability," said CD&R Partner Ken Giuriceo.

John Beeder, current President and Chief Operating Officer, will become Chief Executive Officer after the sale becomes final. Zev Weiss and Jeffrey Weiss, current co-CEOs and Morry Weiss, current Chairman, will participate on the board of directors, according to a company-issued press release.

Monetary terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Mayor Dennis Clough is understandably pleased with American Greetings, which dominates the $6 billion greetings cards industry in North America.

"I did receive a phone call this morning indicating that they plan on staying in the city of Westlake," said Clough.

The next question is: how will the workforce be impacted?

"No, we haven't heard with respect to the workforce. Obviously, there is always chance anytime there's new ownership in any company. But the way it was explained to me they're committed to the city of Westlake. So, from my point of view that means the employees are going to be staying here even though there may be some new restructuring."

The iconic brand is very diversified. It's involved in Papyrus, Recycled Paper Greetings, Gibson and Carlton Cards, and it provides products to more than 60,000 retail stores.

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