A.T. Cross Sells Cross Accessories Division for $60 Million
A.T. Cross, the Lincoln, R.I. supplier of writing instruments, watches and personal accessories, announced that the company has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Cross Accessories Division. A newly formed affiliate of private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners will purchase the division, which includes the iconic Cross pen line, for $60 million in cash.
A.T. Cross announced in February 2013 that it was looking for "strategic alternatives" for its accessory division, which saw revenue decline by 4.8 percent in 2012. The company will refocus its efforts around its Cross Optical Group division, which focuses on premium sports sunglasses and represented approximately 46 percent of the company's 2012 revenue.
"After carefully considering the strategic alternatives available to the Cross Accessory Division, the A.T. Cross Company board of directors concluded that the sale of the division is the best course to maximize value for our shareholders," said David G. Whalen, president and chief executive officer of A.T. Cross.
The company has struggled to position itself as the demand for its high-end writing instruments has declined in recent years. Since 2003, the company has cut its work force, moved much of its operations to China, sold its Lincoln headquarters and restructured the Cross Accessories Division twice.
"As our nearly 170 year history with the Cross brand begins to close, we are proud of all that has been accomplished and that Cross remains such an admired global brand," Whalen said. "In the coming weeks we look forward to working with Clarion to close the deal and provide for a successful transition for our employees, customers and suppliers."
Neither A.T. Cross nor Clarion Capital Partners commented on what impact the sale would have on the brand's promotional products business or on the company's workforce, but in a statement, Eric Kogan, a partner with Clarion Capital Partners said, "We look forward to partnering with Cross' dedicated management team and employees so the Division can build on its rich heritage and develop designs for the next generation of customers."
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and closing conditions. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.