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Herff Jones acquisition to form $1B company

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Herff Jones Inc., the Indianapolis-based maker of school materials and graduation paraphernalia, plans to acquire Dallas-based sporting goods firm BSN Sports Inc., potentially pushing its annual sales to more than $1 billion.

BSN Sports will join the Herff Jones portfolio of companies and continue to operate as its own branded entity, according to an announcement from the firm Thursday morning. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in June.

BSN expects no layoffs as a result of the acquisition or changes in its day-to-day business, according to a spokesperson. BSN will become a subsidiary of Herff Jones, and BSN CEO Adam Blumenfeld will retain his leadership role.

In combination with BSN’s operations, Herff Jones could have an even stronger share of the market for education-related products.

BSN manufactures, markets and distributes sports equipment and team uniforms. Herff Jones makes yearbooks; graduation-related products, such as class rings and gowns; cheerleading uniforms; and classroom materials, such as globes and maps.

Herff Jones revenue is expected to exceed $1 billion once the companies are combined, according to the firms.

Herff Jones ranked 27th on IBJ’s 2011 list of the largest private companies in Indiana, based on revenue of $436.8 million. In 2012, the firm posted revenue of $675 million, according to IBJ research. It reported that it employed 7,000 workers, including 500 in Indiana.

BSN has a sales force close to 400 employees, according to the company release. Its total employment was not immediately clear Thursday morning, nor was its revenue.

Formerly known as Sports Supply Group Inc., BSN was purchased in August 2010 by two private equity firms and taken private. Herff Jones has been fully owned by its employees since 1995.

Herff Jones has been in acquisition mode for several years. In 2011, it purchased Memphis-based Varsity Brands, a top supplier of cheerleading uniforms with about $250 million in annual sales. In 2010, it bought Chicago-area globe maker Replogle.

At the same time, it has been trimming offerings and operations that have lost emphasis in its business plan. The firm has been investing in digital platforms for its yearbook products as industry-wide sales for hardbound copies stagnate, and in 2012 closed a yearbook manufacturing plant in North Carolina with 130 employees.

In 2011, it sold its photography division to Lifetouch Inc.

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