EOM Stories

Robbie Manufacturing, Inc. Acquired By Transcontinental Inc.

Overview

Located in Lenexa, KS, Robbie Manufacturing, Inc. (“Robbie”) is an innovative designer of flexible packaging in North America. Robbie specializes in on-site packaging needs for grocery stores, shrink wrap packaging of retail multipack household products, and packaging solutions for food processors.

Bigelow Assignment

Help the owners think through management transition and ownership succession to assure Robbie’s sustained success. Proactively seek out the best next majority shareholder for the Company, and in doing so, provide a liquidity event for the founder and other family shareholders, while supporting future growth plans the management team targeted as its key opportunities.

Challenges

As a family-owned business with a unique and exceptionally strong culture, the shareholders were deeply concerned about preserving the future legacy of Robbie for all stakeholders—its customers, employees, suppliers, and community.

Robbie enjoyed a long history of sustained growth, and was facing multiple opportunities with platform customers which could potentially lead to a rapid doubling of the business. Robbie was at an inflection point where the management team’s desire to take the Company to the next level was requiring the shareholders to make greater investments back into the business and take on more risk.

Could Bigelow find an investor that would bring the experience and resources required to help Robbie reach its full potential, at the same time, satisfying the financial and personal objectives of several family member owners?

“The Bigelow team brought the needed experience, knowledge, and insight to help me, my management team, and my other advisors get this highly-emotional and complicated event accomplished. They understand the EOM and take the time to do so. Their team worked tirelessly to get us to the goal line. There were so many emotional and important decisions that we could not have done it without them.” Irv Robinson, Chief Executive Officer Robbie Manufacturing, Inc.
factory interior
“Bigelow was instrumental in creative deal structuring as well as providing sound advice to both the buyer and seller to make the deal happen.” Martin Longchamps, Vice President, Corporate Development Transcontinental Inc.

Outcome

Robbie was approached by a Canadian public company, Transcontinental Inc. (“TC”), traded on the Canadian Stock Exchange (TCL.A TCL.B). Robbie’s owners and management team saw great strategic and potential cultural fit with TC, and as a result asked Bigelow to initially work exclusively with TC. A series of meetings in both Kansas and Montreal validated the strength of the cultural fit with TC and highlighted sales and operational synergies that confirmed TC to be the best next majority owner for Robbie.

Even as a public company, TC shared many of the same characteristics as Robbie: entrepreneurially founded and family run with a strong culture and similar values. Relying on both families’ desire for a great long-term future for the combination, Bigelow was able to offer creative deal architecture which bridged mutual concerns. TC had entered the flexible packaging market through two recent acquisitions. As its third acquisition in this market, Robbie was extremely complimentary, providing access to new market segments and product capabilities.

Robbie’s existing management team will continue to lead the company and play a bigger role in the overall management and strategic direction of TC’s flexible packaging group. TC will provide Robbie with access to additional resources and capital for growth, as well as a partner deeply experienced in growing businesses and managing a network of manufacturing facilities.