American Greetings Corporation, LLC is a privately owned American company and is the world's second largest greeting card producer behind Hallmark Cards. Based in Westlake, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, the company sells paper greeting cards, electronic greeting cards, party products (such as wrapping papers and decorations), and electronic expressive content (e.g., ringtones and images for cell phones). In addition, the company owns the Carlton Cards, Tender Thoughts, Just For You, and Gibson brands.
|Sapirstein Greeting Card Company|
|Founded||Brooklyn, Ohio, United States (1906 )|
|Headquarters||1 American Blvd, |
|Owner||Clayton Dubilier & Rice (60%)|
Weiss Family (40%)
Number of employees
American Greetings's former toy design and licensing division, initially called Those Characters From Cleveland, subsequently renamed American Greetings Properties and now separately owned as Cloudco Entertainment, includes copyrighted properties such as Care Bears, Topsy and Tim, The Get Along Gang, Popples, and Holly Hobbie. American Greetings also holds an exclusive license for Nickelodeon characters.
Founded in 1906 by Polish immigrant Jacob Sapirstein (1885–1987), who sold cards from a horse-drawn cart, American Greetings has been run by members of the family since its inception. Irving I. Stone (Sapirstein's oldest son, who changed his surname to Stone) was stuffing envelopes at age five, handling the business during his father's illness when he was nine and worked for the company full-time upon leaving high school. He was succeeded as CEO by his son-in-law Morry Weiss in 1987, and Stone took the title "Founder-Chairman" previously held by his father, when Weiss became chairman in 1992, before dying in 2000. In 1993, American Greetings began sponsoring the Entertainment Tonight Birthdays, also in that same year, the company also introduced its new corporate mascot, the Birthday Bear, AG remained sponsor until 2000, when competitor Hallmark Cards assumed sponsorship.
In 1999, the company bought rival Gibson Greetings and united the second and third largest U.S. greeting card makers.
In 2003, Morry Weiss's sons Zev and Jeffrey became CEO and President respectively; Morry Weiss remained Chairman. In early 2007, American Greetings replaced Kellogg's as the sponsor for Dragon Tales. American Greetings has also branched out onto the internet and owns a network of websites. October 25, 2007, it announced the purchase of Webshots from CNET for $45 million in cash.
In October 2005, American Greetings recalled its Sesame Street toy sunglasses sold from December 2003 through August 2005, because the lenses can separate from the frames, posing a choking hazard to young children.
In 2006, American Greetings celebrated its 100th anniversary.
In 2010, American Greetings announced plans to move its headquarters from Brooklyn, Ohio to a new facility at Crocker Park within the nearby city of Westlake. However, in 2013, the company announced it would delay moving its operations to Westlake. Construction had been scheduled to start in early 2013, and American Greetings said it was only delaying the $150 to $200 million project.
American Greetings went private once again in 2013, thus removing itself from all the public markets, agreeing to pay $18.20 per share, valuing the company at $878 million.
In 2014, American Greetings sold its Brooklyn, Ohio headquarters to developers and began renting its current offices from the new owners until the move to Westlake.
American Greetings opened their new Westlake headquarters in September 2016.
- North American Social Expression Products,
- International Social Expression Products,
- AG Interactive (Webshots was formerly part of AG Interactive)
- a non-reportable operating segment, sometimes referred to as "Retail"
In 2018, the Weiss family sold a 60% majority stake of the company to the investment firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice. The Weiss Family will continue to operate as directors and shareholders of American Greetings as well as retaining ownership of Clintons in the U.K. and American Greetings Entertainment, which was later renamed to Cloudco Entertainment.
On closing of the deal, David Scheible was named Chairman in place of Morry Weiss and President John Beeder was promoted to CEO (the former chairman and co-CEOs remaining on the board); later Scheible and Beeder were replaced by John Compton and Joe Arcuri respectively.
Strawberry Shortcake and the Care BearsEdit
In July 2008, American Greetings announced the sale of its Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears properties to DIC Entertainment (now part of Cookie Jar Entertainment). However, January 9, 2009 it announced that the planned sale had been canceled. As a result, the properties remain under American Greetings' ownership as the company searches for a new buyer.
March 24, 2009, MoonScoop offered to pay $95 million for the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake properties and related rights held by Cookie Jar. Under that deal, American Greetings would pocket $76 million for the animation assets while Cookie Jar would get $19 million for its own rights.
March 30, 2009, Cookie Jar made a $76 million counter-bid for Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. Cookie Jar had until April 30, 2009 to complete the deal. If Cookie Jar failed to close the deal, MoonScoop had until June 7, 2009, to complete its own deal with American Greetings.
In May 2009, American Greetings filed a $100 million lawsuit against Cookie Jar with Cookie Jar filing a $25 million countersuit against American Greetings over the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake deal. In August, 2009 MoonScoop filed a lawsuit against American Greetings over the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake deal.
In February 2015, Iconix Brand Group acquired the rights to Strawberry Shortcake from American Greetings for $105 million. DHX Media would eventually acquire the franchise in 2017 as part of their buyout of Iconix's entertainment assets, which also included an 80% majority stake in Peanuts owner Peanuts Worldwide.
(Note: original creations by American Greetings now mostly owned by Cloudco Entertainment. Other properties were licensed from third parties, where indicated)
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