Adventures in Advertising Franchise Inc has been acquired by Manchester-headquartered 4Imprint Group for $12.5 million in cash.

The merger creates the globe’s fifth largest distributor of promotional merchandise with billings exceeding $200m and over four hundred franchised distributors in the USA plus 600 elsewhere on the planet.

The deal represents a ‘homecoming' by 4Imprint chief executive Dick Nelson who sold his Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based Nelson Advertising business to the UK’s Bemrose Group in the mid-90s.

Says Nelson: “By merging 4imprint, the industry's leading direct marketing company, with a franchise based distributor, we are creating a new business model that gives customers the power to do business in whichever format they are most comfortable with, either online, through a salesperson or catalog.”

In the UK, 4Imprint has been in acquisitive mode with the recent purchase of lossmaking rivals Bourne Publicity and PPI. Its US buy emulates this bargain-basement model, with AIA’s most recent results showing a pre-tax loss of $191,000.

News source: New York Times