Is It Art acquired by Carte Blanche Greetings

The ink has just dried on the deal for Carte Blanche Greetings to acquire Is It Art, the industry’s major distributor to the independent retail sector, owned by industry stalwart Martin Nevin.

IIA-logo 500This significantly strengthens Carte Blanche Greetings’ connections with the independent retail sector, fulfilling part of the company’s strategic growth plans. The acquisition has been concluded with the agreement from Blue Mountain Arts, Danilo, Emotional Rescue and Gemma International that their products will continue to be distributed by Is It Art.

Is It Art was founded in 1998 by Martin Nevin, who, upon his acquisition of Emotional Rescue in 2015, reduced his involvement in Is It Art. Martin stepped back into the business earlier this year when conversations developed between Is It Art and Carte Blanche concerning the potential of a combined business opportunity.

Discussions between the two companies have been ongoing for the last few months, with the final agreement being signed shortly before PG Live closed.

As Carte Blanche ceo, Alister Marchant commented: “This acquisition is very much part of our long-term plans to represent a comprehensive brand offering across numerous sales platforms.”

Alister has extended his role to also become ceo of Is It Art, with Martin continuing a connection as Emotional Rescue products will continue to be distributed by Is It Art.

Alister Marchant and Gerard O’Mahoney from CBG
Alister Marchant and Gerard O’Mahoney from CBG

As Alister elaborated on the rationale of the purchase: “With the retail landscape changing faster than ever, at CBG we recognise that to grow our market share we need to work with exceptional partners which will allow our customers to choose some of the very best brands and products that our industry has to offer.”

Gerard O’Mahoney, commercial director of CBG revealed that there are no plans to make any changes to the Is It Art sales team. “We truly want to get under the skin of the Is It Art business, determined not to lose any of the essence of what has made the company so strong.”

However Gerard does not discount that in the fullness of time that it may well consider distributing other complementary greeting card brands to further “support the independent retailers’ offer. Adding the major brands of Blue Mountain Arts, Danilo, Emotional Rescue and Gemma International to our three strong brands of Me to You, Hotchpotch and Wishing Well, means we now have a very compelling offer for independent retailers.”

Speaking about the acquisition, Brett Smith, sales director for Danilo said: “Danilo welcomes the acquisition of Is It Art by CBG as an truly exciting industry development which will be of great benefit to both the vital independent retail sector and their loyal customers. We have enjoyed a fantastic 20 year relationship with Martin and his team at Is It Art and look forward to building on that success within the new structure. Everyone at Danilo wishes Martin well for the future.”

And Tim Rudd-Clarke, director of Gemma International, whose products are distributed by Is It Art said: “This is a really good development for the whole industry. Carte Blanche, being such a strong player who understands independent retailers’ needs now owning the key distributor can only be a positive thing for all concerned.”

Pictured at top: Martin Nevin and Alister Marchant

UPDATE: This story has been updated since first published on 7 June.

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