Private equity firms announce Identity Group acquisition

COOKEVILLE – A trio of private equity firms has acquired Cookeville-based sign company Identity Group.

The deal was announced this week by Ancor Capital Partners, Merit Capital Partners and PNC Mezzanine Capital. Brad Wolf, president and chief executive officer of Identity Group, said the acquisition brings new life to the company, which manufactures custom identity products and is best known for manufacturing and marketing customized interior signs. Calls for further comment were not returned as of press time.

“The ability to team with an equity sponsor such as Ancor and their partners, including Merit and PNC, brings new life into our company and positions us on a strong platform on which we can drive growth,” Wolf said in a release. “Our management team has reinvested in the business along with Ancor, and we are excited to be a part of such a vibrant group of investors.”

Identity Group operates a manufacturing facility in Cookeville on Gould Drive. The company’s mass customization capabilities allow it to quickly produce high-volume, custom orders for businesses both nationally and internationally. In addition to interior signage, Identity Group’s products include sign systems, dimensional lettering, stock signs, custom and stock stamps, and embossed, engraved, or printed identity products.

“Identity Group has a strong management team, and we’re excited to partner with them,” Ancor Capital Managing Partner Raymond Kingsbury said. “Together, we can allow the company to execute on its plan to be the dominant leader in the industry.”

Kingsbury said part of the growth strategy is to provide capital to initiate an aggressive acquisition strategy of other providers of interior signage in market niches such as health care and hospitality.

Formerly known as Porelon, Identity Group was formed in 1973 in Racine, Wis., as a division of S.C. Johnson Wax Company. It relocated to Cookeville in 1974. Identity Group employs 418 people nationally with 237 in Cookeville, according to the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber. It has more than 200,000 square feet of manufacturing operations in Cookeville; Wichita, Kan.; Cleveland, Ohio; and Utica, N.Y., as well as sales and marketing offices in Nashville; Danville, Ky.; and Sarasota, Fla.

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