Editor’s Note: The long-rumored sale of the Iconic Group was announced quietly last week, with Fenway Partners as the winning bidder. Terms weren’t disclosed, but considering how many photography firms are being sold at fire-sale prices or just plain liquidating, a purchase where presumably cash exchanged hands is a positive sign.
Iconic Group, based in Atlanta, Ga., is a multi-faceted event-photography company, operating the brands GradImages, University Photo, Worldwide Photography, and MarathonFoto. The company shuttered Backprint, its white-label hosting and fulfillment/lab service, in February.
SADDLE BROOK, NEW JERSEY, MAY 25, 2018 — Raymond James Capital, Inc., the merchant banking subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, Inc., and Friend Skoler & Co., LLC, a private equity firm that invests in leading companies in the smaller end of the middle market, announced today the sale of Iconic Group and its related entities (the “Company”) to Fenway Partners and affiliated investors. The transaction closed on May 15, 2018.
Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Iconic Group is the dominant national provider of photography services at university and college graduations in the United States and to major endurance races globally. It is also a leading provider of professional holiday photographs with Santa and the Easter Bunny at shopping malls nationwide.
Raymond James Capital and Friend Skoler (collectively, the “Sponsors”) partnered in 2007 to acquire and consolidate Bob Knight Photomarketing and Chappell Studios and establish the Company. The Sponsors have worked closely with management to build a market leader across three photography markets through 18 acquisitions, with management successfully implementing best operational practices across the organization and executing innovative growth initiatives.
The investment in Iconic Group generated in excess of 3x cash-on-cash return to the Sponsors. “We have greatly enjoyed our partnership with Iconic’s talented management team and experienced ownership group, which includes the industry’s pioneers,” said David Thomas, a Managing Director of Raymond James Capital. Steven Skoler, a Managing Director of Friend Skoler, adds, “We are proud of the innovative strategies that Iconic Group has deployed to become the market leader and dominant consolidator in the event photography industry.”
Denise Conroy, CEO of Iconic Group, stated: “The Sponsors’ unwavering support of the management team enabled the Company to establish itself as the gold standard service provider in its markets, and Iconic is positioned for continued growth with our outstanding talent, leading technologies and customer-centric product and marketing strategies.”
Raymond James Investment Banking served as financial advisor and Ledbetter Wanamaker Glass LLP served as legal counsel to Iconic Group. Lowenstein Sandler LLP served as legal counsel to Fenway Partners and affiliated investors.
About Raymond James Capital, Inc.
Raymond James Capital, Inc. is the merchant banking subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE – RJF). RJC makes direct investments in recapitalizations and acquisitions of middle market private businesses where it can create value-added partnerships with owners/managers that (i) need or desire some current liquidity and/or (ii) seek additional capital to take advantage of growth opportunities.
For additional information, visit www.raymondjamescapital.com.
About Friend Skoler & Co., LLC
Founded in 1998, Friend Skoler & Co., LLC is a private equity firm that invests in leading companies in the smaller end of the middle market in partnership with management. FSC typically invests between $3 million and $20 million of equity per transaction. A key element of the firm’s strategy is to leverage its extensive experience as investors in and operators of middle market companies.
For additional information, visit www.friendskoler.com.
About Iconic Group
Iconic Group captures many of the most defining moments in consumers’ lives and is a leader in the education, endurance sport and retail experiential photography segments. The company provides professional photography services at 10,000 events and 30,000 shoot dates, taking 53 million consumer images per year under the GradImages, University Photo, WorldWide Photography and MarathonFoto brands. Through its unparalleled network of photographers and leading-edge technology, the company handles some of the biggest and most complex events around the world.
For more information, visit www.iconicgroup.com.