Case Study


Fast Facts

Investment Date: 2007
Industry: Opportunistic
Ownership Profile: Private equity-owned
Exit Year: 2012
Location: Little Rock, AR



Vestcom International Inc., is the leading provider of data-driven, shelf-edge marketing solutions to major retailers and brand manufacturers in the grocery, drug, and mass merchandising industries. Stephens Group completed a recapitalization to position the company for the next stage of its growth and enable it to continue to expand its capabilities for its customers and enhance its service offerings in technology-driven in-store marketing communications. Stephens Group successfully exited our control position to a financial buyer after a competitive process and maintains an ongoing relationship with John Lawlor, the former Chairman and CEO of Vestcom, who serves our firm as a Senior Advisor.

Stephens Group was a great partner for many reasons, but what stands out is their patience with transforming the business, and their encouragement to be aggressive in making difficult changes in process, people, and practices in order to build a great company. They stood with us as we made many investments in our journey from being a good label company to the leading provider of technology enabled shelf-edge media solutions.”

John Lawlor,

Current Avery Dennison Senior Advisor and Former Vestcom Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Investment Thesis

The company had a significant market share with leading customers. Stephens Group had a thesis covering three areas:

  1. Increase wallet share with customers.
  2. Move from a “cost plus” pricing model to a “values-based” pricing model where the cost of products could be more closely aligned with the labor savings achieved by our customers
  3. Product extension where Vestcom could leverage its existing position at shelf edge towards the trend to advertise at shelf edge. Launch and grow advertising at shelf edge solutions which could easily be kitted with existing solution, while adding a new source of media-like revenue.

Entry to Exit Evolution

over ~ 2 x
EBITDA growth
more than  90 %
revenue growth

Key Value-Add Initiatives

Significant additions and upgrades to leadership team

Completed a founder transition to a new CEO. Recruited market leading CFO.
Created role for and hired CCO.
Upgraded several additional associated roles, including commercial, HR, IT, etc.

Process improvements yielding 25% EBITDA increase in one year

Undertook operational assessments in order to look for efficiency gains and cost-out initiatives; virtually all facets of the business were addressed including production, working capital management, pricing, procurement, and values-based sourcing

New product experimentation

Electronic shelf edge solutions were always an existential threat; always evaluating cost/benefit of our position in electronic shelf labels

Aggressively launched and pushed advertising-like at-shelf solutions


Acquired a leading competitor to help consolidate wallet share with largest customer

Other Case Studies