Paper Source, founded in 1983, is a leading lifestyle brand and omnichannel retailer headquartered in Chicago. The Company sells fine paper products, gifts, crafts, custom invitations, greeting cards, and personalized stationery for life’s special moments. Through its 130+ retail locations, e-commerce website and wholesale network, Paper Source offers customers a changing selection of artisanal products and services that drives repeat traffic and customer loyalty.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paper Source was rapidly expanding and prepared to capitalize on years of investment, including the acquisition of 30 Papyrus store leases in February 2020. However, in March 2020, the onset of the pandemic restrictions derailed the Company’s growth initiatives. Following the government mandates to close all non-essential retail, Paper Source shuttered its stores and began restructuring operations while negotiating lease concessions and ramping up eCommerce capabilities. Despite reopening all locations in early 2021, the economic shock of COVID-19 negatively impacted the Company’s revenue, profitability, and liquidity. Paper Source filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2021 to rationalize its real estate portfolio and capital structure, identify a strategic partner to support the business long-term, and continue operations without interruption.
SSG’s extensive Chapter 11 transaction experience and knowledge of the retail industry combined with the support of Paper Source’s dedicated management team led by CEO Winnie Park and CFO Ron Kruczynski, produced a process where value was maximized in a highly expedited time frame. SSG was retained in March 2021 to market Paper Source and solicit competing offers to the secured lender’s stalking horse credit bid. A comprehensive sale process attracted interest from multiple strategic and financial acquirers. The Elliott bid, with a value exceeding $100 million, was the highest and best offer for substantially all the Company’s assets. Elliott also owns book retailer Barnes & Noble and will continue to support Paper Source’s strategic growth initiatives.