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Cast Art Industries Announces Merger Agreement With Papel Giftware To Become One of the Largest New Collectibles and Giftware Companies in North America.

CORONA, Calif. and MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ --

Cast Art Industries, LLC, headquartered in Corona, CA and owner of the well-known Dreamsicles brand of Giftware and Collectibles, and Papel Giftware, Inc., headquartered in Monroe Township, NJ, and a leading social expression giftware products company, have entered into a definitive merger agreement.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Papel's stockholders will retain an interest in the newly combined companies. Kenneth LeFevre, formerly President of Goebel North America, distributors of the famous Hummel collectibles has been named President and CEO and L. Richard Kugelman has been named Executive Vice President of the combined companies.

Scott Sherman, the founder and Chairman of Cast Art Industries who will serve as Chairman and will be the largest shareholder of the combined companies stated, "This merger provides for an acceleration in our growth in giftware products by combining Papel Giftware's excellent social expression product line with Cast Art's established and successful collectibles and giftware brand names. The development potential for the two companies is very substantial across the largest market in the world for giftware and collectibles. We are very pleased to be able to work with the excellent Papel Giftware management team, national sales force, associates and suppliers and for them all to continue the strong commitment and high standards that have made Papel Giftware a leader in the giftware industry. We are particularly optimistic about Papel Giftware's dedicated national sales force of over 100 people throughout the U.S., and the Company's well-accepted year-round social expression product line. I am delighted Ken LeFevre and Rick Kugelman have joined our management team, Ken is a proven and outstanding leader, an innovator and a driving force in the giftware industry and Rick has been a long standing and trusted partner in Ken's success. With this combination, we are reinforcing our position as an innovative and leading company in the giftware and collectibles industries."

Papel Giftware entered into the merger agreement following Board of Directors' approval of the transaction. Joel Kier, Chairman of the Board of Papel Giftware who will serve as Vice-Chairman of the combined companies stated, "The transaction announced today fulfills our long-standing goal to develop Papel Giftware into a complete and focused giftware company positioned for accelerated growth and increased opportunities for the future. Cast Art is well-known for its innovative product development and comprehensive collectibles and giftware retail distribution, while Papel is best known for its social expression product design capabilities and dedicated national sales force of over 100 professionals. The alliance under Ken LeFevre's excellent leadership will strengthen both management teams and organizations and broaden the opportunities available to each company. The giftware and collectibles industries are large and fragmented and we look forward to expanding two exciting companies with further acquisitions and alliances."

Completion of the transaction is anticipated within 30 days and is subject to customary closing conditions, including stockholder approval and receipt of regulatory and other approvals. Cast Art was advised in the transaction by Friedman, Billing, Ramsey and Co. and Papel Giftware was advised by BNY Capital Markets, the Investment Banking Group of Bank of New York.

About Cast Art Industries, LLC:

Founded in 1990, Cast Art Industries is a leader in the collectibles and giftware industries. The Company's leading product line, Dreamsicles, is sold throughout the United States and has a large and loyal collector following and recently enrolled the 100,000th member of its Dreamsicles Club. The Company has extensive retail distribution in more than 15,000 specialty giftware and collectibles customers throughout the U.S. Cast Art markets its products in a larger portfolio of figurine brands including Dreamsicles, Slapstix, and Ivy and Innocence. The Company is proceeding to expand into the decorative accessories business with the introduction of a new division known as Et-cetera, which will introduce more than 250 new home decor products at the January gift shows. Cast Art, whose headquarters are in Corona, CA, employs approximately 150 people. The Company also has a long-standing product development and sourcing presence in China.

About Papel Giftware, Inc.:

Papel Giftware is a leading designer, developer and marketer of quality social expression giftware products. The Company markets its seasonal and occasion driven products under the Papel Giftware brand name and other leading licensed brands, including Children of the Inner Light and Me to You. Founded over 40 years ago, Papel Giftware has grown from a division of Russ Berrie, into a comprehensive and focused social expression giftware company bring new direction and complete service through its in-house sales and merchandising force to the U.S. giftware market. The Company maintains a significant in-house design studio with both a U.S. and Asian presence. The focus on an ongoing and innovate product line with new introductions that address gift giving occasions year-round and a sales organization that calls on over 20,000 specialty giftware and department store retail accounts several time a year has proved to be immensely effective with retailers and has been a catalyst for Papel Giftware's sales growth. Papel Giftware, with headquarters in Monroe Township, NJ, employs approximately 200 associates.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2000
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