Brook & Whittle acquires ILS and Wizard Labels

ILS and Wizard Labels are the fourth and fifth add-on transactions that Brook & Whittle anticipates completing since Snow Phipps’ initial investment in 2017.

Source: Label & Narrow Web

Brook and Whittle has announced the signing of definitive agreements to acquire Innovative Labeling Solutions, Inc. (ILS) and Wizard Labels LLC in partnership with founders, Jay Dollries, Steve Wolf and Steve Smith. Brook & Whittle is majority-owned by private equity firm Snow Phipps Group, LLC. The closing of the acquisitions is expected to occur within 30 days.

Jay Dollries founded ILS with Steve Wolf in 1996 and went on to start Wizard Labels with Steve Smith in 2013. ILS is a full-service provider of high quality digitally-printed prime labels. Wizard Labels is an online custom product label company, focused on providing a seamless online transaction experience and excellent customer service. Both companies, similar to Brook & Whittle, are focused on supplying pressure sensitive and shrink sleeve labels to growth-oriented consumer end markets including craft beverage, nutraceuticals, food, household and personal care, among others. Dollries and Smith will continue their involvement and become part owners in Brook & Whittle post-closing.

The ILS and Wizard Labels leadership teams will continue to focus on running their respective businesses as part of Brook & Whittle.

“We are thrilled to acquire leading providers of digital and custom online prime label solutions in North America. The founders of ILS and Wizard Labels have built remarkable companies that are exceptionally well-positioned for growth and we are incredibly excited for them to join Brook & Whittle as significant shareholders,” comments Mark Pollard, CEO of Brook & Whittle.

“There is significant benefit in the application of the ILS and Wizard Labels business model across Brook & Whittle,” says Don Sturdivant, chairman of Brook & Whittle and operating partner at Snow Phipps. “Brook & Whittle, ILS and Wizard Labels all focus on similar growth-oriented end markets and product categories, namely pressure sensitive and shrink sleeve. We are eager to combine our efforts to collectively better serve our growing customer base.”

Since the purchase of its first digital press in 2005, ILS has focused its business model around digital production capable of delivering fast lead times on short run production for its customers. ILS has longstanding partnerships with several of the world’s leading global digital print and converting equipment manufacturers and frequently serves as a beta testing site for new equipment introductions.

Dollries, who is the current CEO of ILS, will help transition the ILS platform to Brook & Whittle and become a strategic advisor and thought partner as a shareholder and board member of Brook & Whittle. “Jay has driven remarkable growth at ILS over its long history, and we are extremely excited for him to help us craft our future digital strategy,” states Pollard.

“ILS has proven its ability to maximize the capabilities of digital printing technology in unique ways to provide solutions for our customers. The opportunity to leverage our know-how across the broader Brook & Whittle platform will truly enhance our ability to scale the business model and growth prospects. In addition, ILS and Brook & Whittle share similar cultures and values, so this partnership is truly a great fit,” Dollries says.

Wizard Labels was founded in 2013 by both Smith and Dollries. The collaboration between ILS and Wizard Labels has proven to be an excellent match, delivering high quality solutions in minimal turnaround time. “The Wizard Labels’ technology platform has demonstrated its unique ability to service customers with unparalleled speed and reliability,” says Wizard Labels founder and president Steve Smith “We look forward to expanding our product line and growing our customer base with the increased capabilities Brook & Whittle offers.”

Smith will continue with Brook & Whittle as a strategic advisor and shareholder helping Brook & Whittle continue to scale Wizard Labels’ technology platform.

ILS and Wizard Labels are the fourth and fifth add-on transactions that Brook & Whittle anticipates completing since Snow Phipps’ initial investment in October 2017. Brook & Whittle acquired Prime Package & Label in November 2018, a shrink sleeve facility in Croydon in May 2020 and Label Impressions in June 2020.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with ILS and Wizard Labels and are very enthusiastic about our future together,” says Gerald Sheehan, partner at Snow Phipps. “The acquisition will further enhance Brook & Whittle’s position as a leading provider of high-end labels across North America.”

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel and KPMG LLP served as financial advisor to Snow Phipps. RKCA Investment Banking served as financial advisor to ILS and Wizard Labels in these transactions.