Milwaukee businessman Bobby Kraft and an investor group have acquired World Marketing Inc., the marketing and direct mail division of Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway’s Media Group. The investors will move World Marketing’s headquarters and administrative operations to Milwaukee.
The other members of the investor group and the purchase price were not disclosed.
World Marketing, a direct mail, fulfillment and critical document solutions provider, processes more than 1 billion pieces of mail each year. Its clients include American Airlines, Kraft Foods, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The company, which has more than 450 employees, will continue operating its plants in Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas and an office in St. Louis. Kraft will become chief executive officer, and four finance officer and support staff positions will be created in Milwaukee.
Kraft is also president and chief executive officer of First Edge Solutions, a Milwaukee-based multi-channel communication, print and document management provider that has production facilities in Phoenix and Atlanta and satellite offices in Chicago, San Diego, New York and St. Louis.
First Edge acquired Milwaukee-based on-demand marketing, document output services and photo book publishing company Proven Direct in May and moved its headquarters to 1301 W. Canal St. in Milwaukee. World Marketing will also be headquarted at that office, but will remain a separate entity.
“It’s a complement to some of the existing operations operated by the new ownership team,” said Joshua Morby, a spokesperson for Kraft. “Bobby was looking for opportunities to add value to some of the other operations that they have. It’s certainly complementary to the experience that they have in the marketing sector.”
The investor group, which has more than 100 years of combined direct mail and corporate operations experience, plans to add video marketing and digital services and tools to World Marketing’s offerings.
“World Marketing has developed a great reputation with an incredible list of clients,” Kraft said. “We’re committed to continue providing exceptional support and service those clients have come to expect from the more than 450 world-class employees working in our operations across five states.”
“With the rapid growth of our newspaper business, World Marketing was no longer a core part of our business as our focus accelerated on newspapers,” said Terry Kroeger, president and CEO of BH Media Group. “We are pleased to have found a buyer that is focused and dedicated on growing its direct mail business, which will be a good result for customers and employees.”
“This new leadership team brings the experience and additional product offerings which add incredible value to our current customers and clients as well as position us as a company to expand operations here in Wisconsin,” said longtime World Marketing executive Joe Ewers, whose family started the operation in 1974. “We’re excited about what’s to come.”
Milwaukee-based Optimus Financial Services helped secure acquisition financing from Associated Bank for the transaction.