Castle Harlan Portfolio Company Completes Major Acquisition

Apr 03, 2001, 01:00 ET from Castle Harlan, Inc.

    NEW YORK, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York-based
 merchant bank, announced today that Commemorative Brands Holding Corp., one of
 the nation's leaders in class rings and yearbooks, had acquired Educational
 Communications, Inc., the leading publisher of directories that recognize
 academic achievement.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
     Educational Communications, located in Lake Forest, Illinois, publishes
 "Who's Who Among American High School Students," "The National Dean's List and
 Who's Who Among America's Teachers."  The company also conducts "The Annual
 Survey of High Achievers," an authoritative and frequently cited source for
 journalists and others seeking information about outstanding teenagers.
     In addition, for many years it has provided funding for 250 annual
 $1,000 scholarships to outstanding students, and it makes grants to enable
 guidance counselors to attend professional workshops.
     ECI was founded in 1966 by Paul Krouse and his wife, Ann, who will remain
 with the company.  Paul Krouse will continue as president and Ann Krouse as
 executive vice president.
     Commemorative Brands, based in Austin, Texas, manufactures and sells class
 rings under the Balfour and ArtCarved brands, as well as championship rings,
 consumer sports and family jewelry and diplomas and graduation announcements.
 The company was acquired in December 1996 by a private equity investment fund
 organized and managed by Castle Harlan.
     Commemorative Brands also is a leading publisher of high school and
 college yearbooks under the Taylor Publishing name.  A Castle Harlan
 investment fund acquired Taylor Publishing early last year, and it was merged
 into Commemorative Brands in July.
     David Fiore, president and chief executive officer of Commemorative
 Brands, said the acquisition of Educational Communications "brings an
 important new dimension to the products we are able to offer the academic
 community."
     "The quality of ECI's publications, the excellence of its operations and
 the company's high level of integrity," Fiore said, "are a perfect reflection
 of the attributes Commemorative Brands has brought to the scholastic market
 for many, many years.
     "We also know that we will find valuable synergies in the operations of
 the two companies as the combination goes forward."
     Krouse said he and his wife believe they have found the "good home" they
 have been seeking for the company they have been nurturing for 35 years.
     "The culture and the chemistry of the two companies are an outstanding
 match," he said.  "We are confident that our managers and our employees will
 feel welcome and comfortable in this new relationship and enthusiastic about
 the opportunities that our tie with Commemorative Brands will bring."
     Equity financing for the transaction was provided by Castle Harlan
 Partners III, L.P., a $630 million private equity investment fund organized
 and managed by Castle Harlan.
     David Pittaway, a Castle Harlan managing director, said the firm saw
 significant growth opportunities ahead for ECI.  He noted that each of its
 publications is the leader in its market.
     In addition, he said, "the company has the most comprehensive access to
 extensive and relevant information about today's high school and college
 students and teachers.  This will be of substantial value to our other
 scholastic commemorative products."
     Additional information on ECI is available at the company's Web site,
 http://www.honoring.com.
     Since its founding in 1987, Castle Harlan has completed acquisitions
 exceeding $4.5 billion.  Its portfolio companies include Marie Callender's
 Restaurant and Bakery, a chain of family restaurants best known for its
 freshly baked pies, and Worldwide Flight Services, the leading global provider
 of ground services to the aviation industry.
     Castle Harlan funds also own Gravograph Industrie International, the
 world's leading maker and seller of machines, accessories and materials used
 in the engraving industry, and Universal Compression, a leader in the natural
 gas compression business.
     Castle Harlan was founded by John K. Castle, an early pioneer of
 institutionalized private equity investing and the former president and chief
 executive officer of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc., and by Leonard M.
 Harlan, founder and former chairman of The Harlan Company, a diversified real
 estate and corporate finance advisory firm.
 
 

SOURCE Castle Harlan, Inc.
    NEW YORK, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York-based
 merchant bank, announced today that Commemorative Brands Holding Corp., one of
 the nation's leaders in class rings and yearbooks, had acquired Educational
 Communications, Inc., the leading publisher of directories that recognize
 academic achievement.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
     Educational Communications, located in Lake Forest, Illinois, publishes
 "Who's Who Among American High School Students," "The National Dean's List and
 Who's Who Among America's Teachers."  The company also conducts "The Annual
 Survey of High Achievers," an authoritative and frequently cited source for
 journalists and others seeking information about outstanding teenagers.
     In addition, for many years it has provided funding for 250 annual
 $1,000 scholarships to outstanding students, and it makes grants to enable
 guidance counselors to attend professional workshops.
     ECI was founded in 1966 by Paul Krouse and his wife, Ann, who will remain
 with the company.  Paul Krouse will continue as president and Ann Krouse as
 executive vice president.
     Commemorative Brands, based in Austin, Texas, manufactures and sells class
 rings under the Balfour and ArtCarved brands, as well as championship rings,
 consumer sports and family jewelry and diplomas and graduation announcements.
 The company was acquired in December 1996 by a private equity investment fund
 organized and managed by Castle Harlan.
     Commemorative Brands also is a leading publisher of high school and
 college yearbooks under the Taylor Publishing name.  A Castle Harlan
 investment fund acquired Taylor Publishing early last year, and it was merged
 into Commemorative Brands in July.
     David Fiore, president and chief executive officer of Commemorative
 Brands, said the acquisition of Educational Communications "brings an
 important new dimension to the products we are able to offer the academic
 community."
     "The quality of ECI's publications, the excellence of its operations and
 the company's high level of integrity," Fiore said, "are a perfect reflection
 of the attributes Commemorative Brands has brought to the scholastic market
 for many, many years.
     "We also know that we will find valuable synergies in the operations of
 the two companies as the combination goes forward."
     Krouse said he and his wife believe they have found the "good home" they
 have been seeking for the company they have been nurturing for 35 years.
     "The culture and the chemistry of the two companies are an outstanding
 match," he said.  "We are confident that our managers and our employees will
 feel welcome and comfortable in this new relationship and enthusiastic about
 the opportunities that our tie with Commemorative Brands will bring."
     Equity financing for the transaction was provided by Castle Harlan
 Partners III, L.P., a $630 million private equity investment fund organized
 and managed by Castle Harlan.
     David Pittaway, a Castle Harlan managing director, said the firm saw
 significant growth opportunities ahead for ECI.  He noted that each of its
 publications is the leader in its market.
     In addition, he said, "the company has the most comprehensive access to
 extensive and relevant information about today's high school and college
 students and teachers.  This will be of substantial value to our other
 scholastic commemorative products."
     Additional information on ECI is available at the company's Web site,
 http://www.honoring.com.
     Since its founding in 1987, Castle Harlan has completed acquisitions
 exceeding $4.5 billion.  Its portfolio companies include Marie Callender's
 Restaurant and Bakery, a chain of family restaurants best known for its
 freshly baked pies, and Worldwide Flight Services, the leading global provider
 of ground services to the aviation industry.
     Castle Harlan funds also own Gravograph Industrie International, the
 world's leading maker and seller of machines, accessories and materials used
 in the engraving industry, and Universal Compression, a leader in the natural
 gas compression business.
     Castle Harlan was founded by John K. Castle, an early pioneer of
 institutionalized private equity investing and the former president and chief
 executive officer of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc., and by Leonard M.
 Harlan, founder and former chairman of The Harlan Company, a diversified real
 estate and corporate finance advisory firm.
 
 SOURCE  Castle Harlan, Inc.