Mason Wells Announces the Sale of Pacon Corporation

Press Release
Milwaukee WI, July 7 2018

For more information, contact:  Thomas G. Smith, Executive Managing Director, 414-727-6416, Chris Pummill, Director, 414-727-6428, or Michael Graves, Senior Associate, 414-727-6426

Mason Wells announced the closing of the sale of Pacon Creative Products (“Pacon” or the “Company”), a Mason Wells Buyout Fund III portfolio company, to Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini S.p.A. (“F.I.L.A.”) (BIT: FILA). The transaction closed on June 7, 2018, at a $340 million transaction value.

Based in Appleton, Wisconsin, Pacon is a leading provider of branded arts & crafts and specialty paper products for the school, retail, and online channels.

“We are very proud of the success Pacon has achieved during our ownership period,” said Tom Smith, Executive Managing Director of Mason Wells. “During that time, we transitioned the Company from family ownership and made investments in the existing operations as well as strategic acquisitions. We completed five tuck-in acquisitions, which helped the Company expand its geographic coverage, product categories, and brand portfolio. We are very pleased to know the Company and team will continue to thrive as part of the F.I.L.A. organization.”

“The partnership of the Pacon team with Mason Wells over the past several years clearly transformed the business to a new level,” said Jim Schmitz, President & CEO of Pacon. “Through the development and execution of a refined long-term marketing and growth strategy in combination with five strategic acquisitions that included expansions into new markets and adjacent product categories, the Company is well positioned for continued success in the future. In addition, Mason Wells brought disciplined processes and resources that allowed the business to reinvest in new capital projects including the purchase and implementation of SAP. We are excited about entering the next Pacon chapter in a new partnership with F.I.L.A. who will capture the benefits of the past 6.5 years of work for many years to come. I want to personally thank the Mason Wells team, who we consider friends and mentors, for their unwavering support.”

Pacon was advised by Robert W. Baird and Quarles & Brady served as legal counsel.

About Pacon

Founded in 1951, Pacon is a leading provider of branded arts & crafts products for the school (primarily pre-K-5), retail, and online channels. The Company built its complementary portfolio of brands through both organic and acquisition growth (having completed 14 acquisitions since 1998 including well-known brands Strathmore®, Carolina Pad™, and Princeton Artist Brush Co.™). The Company has a comprehensive portfolio of over 8,500 SKUs across many categories including classroom papers, arts & crafts, teaching aids, décor, learning games, and fine art materials. Pacon is also the preferred manufacturer of quality specialty paper products. Headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, Pacon operates eight production facilities located in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. For more information, please visit the Company’s website at

About Mason Wells

Mason Wells is a leading Midwest-based private equity firm with approximately $1.0 billion in assets under management across its current private equity funds. Mason Wells is currently investing out of Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, a $615 million fund. Since Mason Wells was formed in 1998, its buyout funds have invested in four specific industry sectors: Consumer Packaged Goods, Outsourced Business Services, Engineered Products & Services, and Packaging Materials & Converting. For more information related to Mason Wells, please visit our website at

All news