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BDA Raises $75 Million In Financing


As first reported in a Breaking News Alert on Thursday, Counselor Top 40 distributor Bensussen, Deutsch & Associates (asi/137616) has secured $75 million in funding from equity firm American Capital. BDA CEO and co-founder Jay Deutsch has confirmed to Counselor that he and Eric Bensussen will continue to own and run the company, although further details on the deal were not disclosed.

“American Capital proved to be the perfect partner for BDA as we look to take advantage of our vast growth opportunities, both in North America and abroad,” said Deutsch, in a statement. “In addition to growth capital, American Capital brings additional in-house resources and cross-industry expertise to accelerate our strategic planning and the growth we are projecting.”

American Capital, a publicly-traded company, manages $19 billion of assets and has a history of investing in marketing, medical and financial firms. The equity company, which has eight total offices in the U.S. and Europe, considers investment opportunities that range from $10 million to $750 million, according to its website. “BDA serves some of the world’s most admired global brands with its comprehensive set of branded merchandise solutions,” said Gordon O'Brien, president of American Capital’s specialty finance and operations. “BDA’s top-tier team has a decisive vision for how merchandise will play an even larger role as brands look to capitalize on a robust economy and new opportunities to engage new and existing customers.”

Over the last five years, BDA’s sales have increased by 40%, although its revenues declined year-over-year by 8.5% in 2012 and 2.8% in 2013. The Washington-based distributor also sent a letter to suppliers in March of this year admitting to “unintended consequences” following its launch of an Oracle ERP system in August of 2013. At the time, the company said the ERP issues led to accounts receivable and payable problems. Since October of last year, BDA’s ASI Connect score – a credit rating of distributors provided by suppliers – has fallen by 35 points. Today, BDA’s Connect score is 69, while the industry average is 98. BDA, though, says that it has now resolved its ERP system problems, and is planning for growth moving forward.

“We have stabilized the systems issues and we are now seeing the process efficiencies originally promised,” Deutsch told Counselor. “We have seen significant revenue growth in the first half of this year. With new and expanding partnerships in the works, we're preparing to finish the year very strong and for explosive growth in 2015.”

BDA is ranked by Counselor as the 4th-largest distributor in the industry with 2013 North American ad specialty sales of $278.3 million.

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