Riverside Exit Exhibits Signs of Success July 10, 2008
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Realization of Fabric Structure and Signage Maker Generates Positive Returns
(July 10, 2008) – The Riverside Company flew its banner with pride as it announced the exit of Moss, a designer and manufacturer of tensioned-fabric structures and signage. During its ownership, Riverside guided Moss through two successful add-on acquisitions, ultimately expanding the company’s product offerings and creating a national footprint. The sale generated a 33% gross IRR and a 4.2x gross cash-on-cash return for Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund 2000 (“RCAF 2000”) investors.
Moss is so well known in its industry that tensioned-fabric structures are often referred to as “Moss structures.” The company has the most comprehensive product offering in the industry, ranging from a full line of standard shapes to complex custom designs. While traditionally used for trade show exhibit booths, Moss expanded under Riverside’s ownership to enter the retail and event markets, including a line of rental products. From the M&M’s World flagship store to stage designs for the Grammy Awards and Miss America Pageant, Moss’ unparalleled design, engineering, manufacturing and printing capabilities enable the company to deliver complex products while meeting lead times as short as three days.
“Riverside purchased Moss in September 2000 amidst the height of dotcom and telecom exhibit spending,” said Andrew Strauss, Riverside Partner. “The next year was catastrophic for Moss, as well as the entire industry, due to the crash of the dotcom boom and the aftermath of the tragedies of September 11, 2001. It was heavy lifting for us and our terrific partner and lender Babson Capital to stabilize the company, while exhibit builders all around the country were shuttering.”
This all-time low in the trade show industry provided the otherwise impossible opportunity to acquire Moss’ largest competitor – Exhibit Architecture. This equity-funded acquisition of April 2002 provided a standard product line to complement Moss’ custom products and expanded the company’s presence in the Chicago market. It also allowed both companies to exchange best practices and leverage distribution capabilities and was a turning point in the Moss business.
Exhibit Architecture was one of two add-ons. The second was Nichols, a designer and producer of fabric structures, stands and banner products with an outstanding brand name for print quality. The acquisition added complementary manufacturing expertise and production and brought unparalleled cross-selling opportunities, while adding a West Coast presence. All told, the add-ons created the most comprehensive manufacturer of tensioned fabric structures, display hardware and printed graphics in the world.
“Riverside provided the capital to invest in the business even when the industry was down – something we would not have been able to do on our own,” said Charles Corsentino, President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Moss. “The geographic expansion, including the relocation of our headquarters to suburban Chicago and the opening of a rental and sales office in Las Vegas, coupled with the breadth of product line growth we have developed with Riverside, has positioned us perfectly to capitalize on the growing marketing trend toward face to face marketing.”
Representing Riverside along with Strauss on the sale of Moss to Century Park Capital Partners were Sarah Roth, Vice President, and Martin Graul, Associate. Moss was represented by the investment banking firm Edgeview Partners and the law firm Jones Day.
The Riverside Company
The Riverside Company is the largest global private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market (“SEMM”) and is one of the industry’s most experienced leveraged buyout investors. Riverside specializes in investing in premier SEMM companies (those valued up to $200 million) and partners with strong management teams to build companies through acquisitions and value-added growth. Since 1988, the firm has invested in 191 transactions with a total enterprise value of $3.4 billion. Its current portfolio in the U.S., Europe and Asia numbers 62, with combined annual sales of $3 billion, EBITDA of $468 million and more than 14,000 employees. Riverside offers the resources to complete acquisitions smoothly and in as little as 45 days - thanks to its sizeable pool of capital under management (nearly $2 billion in nine funds), over 170 professionals in 17 offices (Amsterdam, Atlanta, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York, Prague, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Warsaw), and long-standing relationships with partner lenders. Five of seven of the firm’s mature vintages are currently top quartile, and the firm’s investors include the world’s leading pension funds, endowments, funds-of-funds, insurance companies and banks. Please visit www.riversidecompany.com and www.riversideeurope.com for more information.
Moss Holding Company
Moss is the world’s premier provider of tensioned fabric solutions to the Exhibit, Event and Retail Interiors industries. With headquarters in Belfast, Maine and additional locations in Chicago, Illinois and Las Vegas, Nevada, Moss specializes in executing custom designs from the industry’s top designers and builders. And, if an off-the-shelf solution is needed, Moss offers the Standard Shapes line and a large inventory of Rental Shapes. Throughout its history the Moss creative spirit has met challenges with elegance, energy and unsurpassed technical skill. For more information, please visit www.mossinc.com.