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NEED TO SELL

Irving Place Capital is expected to sell Multi Packaging Solutions in the near future, a source close to the firm told Buyouts, after a steady expansion that has included a number of add-on acquisitions.

The New York firm formed the company as a build-up platform in the specialty printing and packaging industry after buying The John Henry Co. on Dec. 31, 2004. The New-York-based company offers folding cartons, labels, flexible packaging and other products used in the health care, entertainment and consumer brands markets.

Since the John Henry deal, the rebranded company has completed seven acquisitions. Our source stressed that the expansion was not a random “roll up” meant to just buy revenue, but instead a cautious effort to gain entry into new markets, geographies and technologies. The duration of Irving Place’s investment, and the company’s pace of investment, supports this assessment: Multi Packaging closed one deal in 2005, two in 2006, two in 2008, one in 2009, and one in 2011.

The company has gone from operating five facilities in the United States to operating 17 worldwide, including in Germany and Poland. Its employee base has grown from about 1,000 to 2,600.

Multi Packaging Solutions has achieved 6.5 percent annual growth in revenues since 2005, and grown from $150 million in annual revenue to more than $600 million. It has total leverage of 2x EBITDA, our source said, and has never had more than 4x.

The company should turn out to be a big winner for Irving Place Capital, which has already recouped about 70 percent of the capital it invested, the source said. A sale, rather than an initial public offering, would be the likely exit avenue, this source said.

Multi Packaging Solutions was the first of Irving Place’s push into specialty packaging. The company now has four platforms in the sector.