Friend Skoler & Raymond James Capital Form Event Photography Group
EPG Announces Investments in Chappell Studio and Bob Knight Photomarketing
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, June 1, 2007 -- Raymond James Capital, Inc., the merchant banking subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, Inc. and Friend Skoler & Co., Inc., a private equity firm that invests in leading companies in the smaller end of the middle market, announced today that they have partnered to form Event Photography Group, Inc. ("EPG") and financed EPG’s investments in Chappell Studio, Inc. ("Chappell") and Bob Knight Photomarketing, Inc. ("Bob Knight"). As the leading providers of graduation photography services in North America, Chappell and Bob Knight target high school and university graduation events and market photographs to graduates via email and traditional mail. In addition, Chappell provides photographic services to many of the largest marathon and endurance races in the U.S. and Europe through its MarathonFoto division. The owners and senior management teams of Chappell and Bob Knight are also investing in the equity of EPG.
Based in Fairfield, Iowa, Chappell is the largest graduation and marathon race photographer in North America. Based in Tallahassee, Florida, Bob Knight is the leading provider of graduation event photography services to high schools and universities in the Southeastern U.S. and California. The success of both companies is due to their effective marketing strategies, solid client relationships, leading information technologies, and dedicated and skilled employees.
“We are excited to partner with Chappell owners John and Brenda Narducci, Joe Mandarino and Jim Davis, Bob Knight owners Bob and Gail Knight, and their very talented management teams to create the leading graduation and endurance event photography company in the United States. EPG represents an exciting platform that is well positioned to grow both organically and through acquisitions” said David Thomas, a Managing Director of Raymond James Capital. According to Steven Skoler, a Managing Director of Friend Skoler & Co, “Bob Knight and Chappell have become the industry leaders by employing sophisticated event management and direct marketing practices and providing high levels of service to event coordinators and consumers. This business combination brings together the best and biggest in the graduation and marathon event photography segments."
John Narducci, CEO of Chappell, stated: "Our entire management team is enthusiastic about EPG's future, and the partnership with Raymond James and Friend Skoler will provide us with the capital and expertise to continue our growth. Both firms have a strong appreciation for our corporate culture, and we believe they are great long term partners for us and our employees." Bob Knight, founder and CEO of BKP, added: “We are excited to be participating in a combination of the leading businesses in our industry with two outstanding private equity firms with strong track records investing in and helping to build companies of our size. EPG has a unique foundation from which to grow."
ORIX Finance Corp. and Churchill Financial LLC provided senior debt for the transaction. The Fortune Group based in St. Louis, Missouri, represented Chappell. RSM EquiCo, Inc. represented Bob Knight.
About Raymond James Capital, Inc.
Raymond James Capital, Inc. is the merchant banking subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE - RJF), one of the largest investment banking firms headquartered in the Southeast. RJC makes direct investments in recapitalizations and acquisitions of middle market private businesses where it can create value-added partnerships with owners/managers that (i) need or desire some current liquidity and/or (ii) seek additional capital to take advantage of growth opportunities. For additional information, please visitwww.raymondjames.com.
About Friend Skoler & Co., Inc.
Founded in 1998, Friend Skoler & Co., Inc. is a private equity firm that invests in leading middle market companies in partnership with management. Headquartered in Saddle Brook, NJ, Friend Skoler manages Friend Skoler Equity Investors, L.P., a private equity fund with $231 million of capital commitments. For additional information, please visitwww.friendskoler.com.
About Chappell Studio, Inc.
Headquartered in Fairfield, Iowa, Chappell Studio provides graduation photography services to high schools and universities across North America. In addition, Chappell provides photographic services to many of the largest marathon and endurance races in the U.S. and Europe through its MarathonFoto division. The Company markets photography product packages through email and traditional mail. For more information about Chappell Studio, please visitwww.chappell.com.
About Bob Knight Photomarketing
Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, Bob Knight Photomarketing provides graduation photography services to high schools and universities primarily in the Southeastern U.S. and California. The Company markets photography product packages to graduates through email and traditional mail. For more information about Bob Knight Photomarketing, please visit www.bobknightphoto.com.
For additional information, contact:
Raymond James Capital, Inc.
Friend Skoler & Co., Inc.