International M&A: Two Prominent Swedish Promo Products Distributors Merge

International M&A: Two Prominent Swedish Promo Products Distributors Merge

The merger between Wackes AB and Olsson & Co. will enable the combined firm to become a leader on quality and sustainability, executives said.

In another sign that M&A activity is increasing in promo in both the North American and international markets, Wackes AB and Olsson & Co. announced this week that they are merging. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

“The merge is based on a common vision to continue to transform the promotional items industry and to be a sustainability role model,” said Wackes CEO Thomas Davidsson and Olsson CEO Tomas Olsson in a joint statement. “With a clear focus on quality and sustainability, Wackes and Olsson & Co. aim to show the Nordic market that (promotional products) are a marketing channel with superior attention value and one that can also contribute to a better world.”

Executives said that a new company name and business structure will be announced in the months ahead. One thing that is known is that Davidsson will be CEO of the combined company after the merger. All employees for both companies will be offered positions with the newly merged firm. The businesses will operate as one company after January 1, 2023.

Davidsson said that the two firms had been in discussions for years about how they could help make promo a more sustainable industry. From such a focus, it became clear that a merged company could help propel the eco-minded mission.

“We will now have the capacity to meet sustainability challenges and be at the forefront of our industry’s development in the Nordic countries,” Davidsson said.

Olsson added: “Our entire industry is fundamentally changing due to the demands for sustainability, high quality and ethical scrutiny from our customers. This results in large investments needed in both logistics and active sustainability work. We now ensure that we will continue to exceed our customers’ expectations. Through this merger, we will have a trade volume that can effectively manage a continued development today and for the future.”

Wackes provides branded items, staff apparel and customer activation campaigns for clients in a wide range of industries, from global engineering firms to leading food manufacturers. Olsson was founded in 2007 and takes a consultative, agency-style approach to crafting client solutions.

The announced merger comes a few weeks after another significant M&A deal in Europe: Stockholm, Sweden-headquartered New Wave Group, a firm whose subsidiaries include Top 40 supplier Cutter & Buck (asi/47965) and Massachusetts-based supplier Ahead (asi/33220) among others, acquired BTC Activewear Limited, a supplier of promo, corporate and team apparel in Birmingham, U.K.

After a quiet period during the COVID-19 pandemic, mergers and acquisitions have picked up pace again in the North American promo industry, too. For instance, Los Angeles-based supplier A4 (asi/30121) just announced that it has acquired LabFit Apparel.

Last week, Minnesota-based The Occasions Group acquired the assets of Greenville, NC-headquartered supplier Accu Copy (asi/30490).

The Occasions Group is part of Taylor Corporation, which is also the parent firm of Top 40 distributor Taylor Promotional Products (asi/333647), Top 40 supplier ADG Promotional Products (asi/97270), and Amsterdam Printing (asi/121500), among many others.

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