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Bainbridge whispers

Marc Lizer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 28, 1999
North Hollywood, CA
Heard an intersting rumor.

Well it's not actually a rumor, since the origin was the CEO, but since I hadn't seen mention here or in the trades I thought I'd share.

Here goes:

From what I understand, if all goes as planned, the investor group that owns Neilson Bainbridge will sell Neilson Bainbridge to another investment group, or group of investors.

So the question is who's buy'n?

Of course we'll know who it really is when the sale is final.

But sources say that the new owner is NOT Larson, or in any way a relation to Bershire Hathaway, or any of it's sub-companies.

They were very clear to make sure to say it was not them.

Now comes the speculation part: Were they saying that is is not Larson, but it really is?

Probabally not.

The next specuation comes by wondering who has the cash, and who would want the product, or is a large user of it?

I'm guessing Michaels.

Of course the possibility of the Bainbirdge sale may be totally flase. But I've got a good source on this one. On the other hand I could be totally wrong. That happens allot.
I wasn't going to mention it just yet, but y'all had better be nice to me if you want any Bainbridge products in the future.

First thing I'm gonna do is give Nona a big raise.
Bainbridge is owned by an group of investors, via an investment group.

They are getting out, and cashing in (to move on to other ventures)

Buy low, sell high.

As capitalists they will sell to whoever has the cash.

They have said who the buyer will NOT be. (Larson)

Larson already owns a matboard company, and a metal company too.

They did not exclude Michaels.
They do not have an interest in an board company 9that I know of), and Bainbridge is a product they use allot of right now (exclusivly).

A good fit. A good business decision for the buyer and seller (if it's them).

Sorry 'bout that.

I thought maybe my post was one of those cryptoposts.

My bad.

I took Less's post as a polite way of saying Holy @#$%!

Hence the all caps, and the extra spacing.

But that's just a guess.

I really don't know what's swriling around Less's head at the moment.
Now don't go and frankenthread your own thread by asking us to consider the answer to that one! (sorry Less :D )

Even more then the 'who', if we consider the 'what' and 'why' of your story there are many gloomy effects of such a deal.
I think he actually ment M AR E, which could be pronounced as Mary.

Stands for Michael's / Aaron Brothers enterprises.

Hmmmmmmmm. By some indications, MARE is in troubles of their own......

and last Tuesday at lunch, Paul Allen didn't mention that he OR Bill were interested in our industry.... although, Paul IS into some strange stuff lately..... I'll maybe sound him out some more.

Now from the warped side: The title of this thread suggests a little cross of Less, voices, and Ron's tools...... Occationally my Morso whispers evil things, but Mat Samples are stupid and just lay there.
With my luck it'll be Crescent that buys Bainbridge!

I have gotten SO FED UP with the flecks and dye dots in Crescent whites that I was planning on throwing out all my Crescent samples when I got in this morning. NOW I read this post,....
Wouldn't that be interesting, Bob?

People say to me, "Ron, you idiot, you have too many mat samples and too much mat inventory from too many companies!" (They're are a little nicer than that, but that's what they mean.)

Wouldn't it be cool if I could say, "What ARE you talking about? They're ALL Crescent."

"And, BTW, ALL the moulding companies are really L-J."

Okay, so maybe that wouldn't be a good thing.
If the rumor is true, I'll be willing to bet that prices will go up so that the new owners can recoup their investment, and that service will go down when they "streamline" the operation.
They have been quite open in advising that the company is for sale and it was announced to the trade in late August. Now what type of company or group bought N B the last time it was for sale? Take a look at the current owners, The Jordan Group. You will recognize a number of the other companies they own.


Here is the portfolio of the companies they currently have in their stable.


We know that Esselte AB, the Swedish conglomerate, sold NB five years ago as it did not fit into their line of office supply products. Now why would the Jordan Company be selling? You sell for two prime reasons --- to take your profits or to cut your loses and move your capital to a more productive and better home.

My guess, based on the “trade chatter” about what is going on in the moulding, matboard and foamboard industry, is they are selling for the latter of the two reasons.

Who might the suitor be? Michaels ? - I doubt it and here is why. Could N B survive simply selling to Michaels and OEM manufacturing accounts ? If Michaels owned NB what retailer in their right mind would purchase product from a company that is their direct competitor? I doubt that NB could do enough business as it is organized with just one retail chain. If the retailers would not buy the product that means that the whole group of distributors selling the NB products would likely drop the product line.

I think the scenario of someone purchasing NB and switching NB into a distribution company competing directly with LJ and all the other independent distributors is more likely. They would gain margin they now give to the distributors. NB has the model already set up and operating in Canada where they have been selling direct to retail stores for 10 years through four nationally located distribution centres. In Canada NB sells product cheaper to retail frame shops than they do to the few distributors they have left. NB knows where every frame shop in the USA is, and they have been mining their database of frame shops for years. They do sell moulding direct to the larger frame shops so it would not take much to change over and sell direct to the entire retail frame shop industry and compete head on with LJ and the rest of the independent distributors.

When the subject of NB selling direct is brought up with NB management they always deny they will bring the Canadian Model into the US market. But new owners may look at it differently. Making the company profitable may force them to look at new alternatives.

An interesting aside in Canada is that CRESCENT recently pulled their line from the four NB distribution centres. NB was going into retail stores and swapping any Crescent product for Bainbridge as a move to get Crescent out of any frame shop NB was selling.
Why Crescent continued to sell to their competitor for so long is hard to figure out as everyone knew they simply had Crescent in their catalogue to sell against it at lower prices.

Now, before y'all go to speculating on the rumor about the rumor that started the rumor about Bainbridge being bought out by Michaels, let's try to keep this entire thing in perspective.

From Marc's "sources" we hear a rumor that nobody can substantiate nor disprove at the moment. then Marc adds another rumor to the rumor mill about the buyout pointing towards Michaels, again with nothing to base his speculations. They probably didn't exclude Michaels in this CEO conversation in which Marc involved himself but I'll bet that they also didn't exclude 147 other companies that would potentially have some kind of interest in acquiring a matboard/moulding company the likes of NB.

Why take this to the next level and start speculating on something that hasn't even been mentioned by anyone but Marc so far. That's exactly how things get blown out of proportion on this forum and I really think that it's time we all take a reality check about how we choose to deal with hearsay on this forum.

Marc, I have to say that most of the times we see you drop in here after a long hiatus, you plant a tidbit of so called "information" and then run off, not to be heard from again for a month or so. Hey, that's OK if you get your kicks out of that sort of thing, but I would rather choose to discuss a subject that has some substance to it and have the thread originator present to participate in the discussions.

Now you can go and dig around in the archives to bring up all those threads that would disprove my statements, if you wish. I won't waste my time digging into anything about your past record on the Grumble. That seems to stand for itself in many peoples' minds.

Let's get back to the business of framing on this forum and leave the Warped stuff to the Warped forum instead of placing it where it doesn't belong.

Oh, I think it's fun to speculate sometimes.

And I think it's hilarious when professional framers start to talk about dumping an entire line based on that speculation.

And then we expect trust and loyalty from OUR customers. :rolleyes:
Ron, I was close to dumping my whole line based on this speculation, glad you brought this up before I made a hasty decision.

I'll wait for the verdict.
Well crap! I have been complaining and scheming to pick up one and only one line of matboards. I was thiiiiis close to going with NB. Now with all this talk about new owners and increasing prices…sigh…..

I don’t see how they can increase their prices much!

Is it Saturday yet?

Carry on!
Is the Nielson metal line always part of the mat-board line or can they split them for a sale? What about the nurre caxton frames?
This is certainly not the first time Bainbridge has changed owners in the past 25 years. (it seems to me like it is the 3rd or 4th) And, way back then it was just Bainbridge - not Nielsen/Bainbridge (et al).

I don't think a very large majority of us framers would even notice that there was a change.

I see no inclination for MARE to become even more involved in the manufacturing business. They may order the production of some clone mouldings direct from the mills, but I don't think they own the businesses that make the products they sell. They specialize in retailing "stuff" that is hobby & art related.
In Aaron Brothers hay day, their retail was less than 25% of their income. They owned a couple of mfgs in Taiwan... and sold more length than Omega and Decor combined.

As for Bain . . . wouldn't it be nice to type in a sku number that WORKS without having to remember that you have to first enter an N or M or B or have 8plys with their own number!!!

Just ranting. Carry on.