Ignite Holdings, a Chicago-based maker of reusable water bottles and travel mugs sold under the Contigo and Avex brands, will be acquired by Newell Rubbermaid for $308 million. The purchase price is subject to customary working capital adjustments.
Ignite is currently owned by North Castle Partners, a private-equity firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut which took a stake in March 2013 for an undisclosed sum, and by private investors including some of the company's employees. North Castle's current portfolio includes such brands as Performance Bicycles, Octane Fitness, Ibex Outdoor Clothing among others.
Ignite, founded in 1999, is expected to reach net sales of $125 million this year. It has grown at a compound average rate of 35 percent annually for the past four years. In 2010, Ignite introduced Autoseal technology, a proprietary closing apparatus that prevents spills.
Newell Rubbermaid, headquartered in Atlanta, is a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with a portfolio of well-known brands including Rubbermaid food-storage, home-organization and refuse-container products. Ignite will be absorbed into Newell Rubbermaid's Home Solutions division. The acquisition is expected to enable Newell Rubbermaid to build a global beverage container business leveraging both the premium Contigo and mainstream Rubbermaid brands.
Newell Rubbermaid plans to reinvest a portion of Ignite's profits to build on the current strong momentum of the Contigo and Avex brands, and to expand product lines, channels of distribution and geographic footprint over time. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Newell Rubbermaid's growth rate, normalized operating income margin and normalized earnings per share in the first year.
Sami El-Saden, currently Ignite's chief executive, will stay on for six to seven months to help figure out the integration plans, after which he will leave the company. El-Saden reportedly said business will be conducted as usual at least through the end of the year. Once integration plans are set, Ignite's 70 employees will find out whether they will be moving over to Newell Rubbermaid in Atlanta or to its office at Downers Grove, in Chicago.