William Penn, the Indian brand for premium writing instruments and lifestyle accessories, announced that it has acquired Sheaffer, the 110-year-old American manufacturing company of writing instruments, particularly known for their luxury fountain pens.
This is touted to be one of the biggest acquisitions in the premium writing instrument industry, which is pegged at around Rs 450 crore in India.
William Penn will be taking over Sheaffer’s manufacturing, marketing and retailing across 75 countries including USA, UK, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, South Africa, Japan and India, among others. The acquisition from AT Cross Company comprises the brand’s complete product portfolio and licenses, including premium pens, journals and gift sets.
William Penn began in 2002 as a quest to bring the fine writing instruments of the world to India and help bridge the gap between brands and their customers. The Bengaluru-based company has been instrumental in bringing some of the most renowned international brands, such as Montblanc, Cross, Sheaffer, Pelikan and Sailor, to name a few, under one roof, for the Indian customer.
In 2016, the company acquired the British brand Lapis Bard and expanded its product range from fine writing instruments to product offerings of high quality and luxurious designs such as artfully crafted leather bags, sleek wallets, elegant cufflinks, watch chests and pen cases among others.
Nikhil Ranjan - Founder and MD, William Penn, said, “This is a proud moment for us. We are excited to embark on this new phase of growth with an iconic American brand. I remember those days when I was starting William Penn. Our vision was to provide our customers with a world-class experience in a category, hitherto unavailable in India. Working with a formidable global player like Sheaffer was a distant dream then. Years of hard work, passion and commitment to excellence has helped us achieve many milestones during our journey in the last twenty years. Today, it gives me immense pride to say that we are one of the key global players in the writing instrument space.”
“At William Penn, we see the current acquisition as a remarkable opportunity to further build on the preferences and tastes of Indian customers, while also factoring in global needs during the product development of new Sheaffer models and lines. The American brand enjoys a 15% market share in the premium writing instruments (pens above $10) segment in India. We hope to double this market share and plan to make India the No.1 market for Sheaffer in the next three years. As a global player, we look forward to changing the rules of the game,” added Ranjan.
With the acquisition of Sheaffer, William Penn will continue to raise the bar with a dedicated investment in product development and marketing as well as augmenting the brand’s digital presence. The company is expecting a 30% YoY growth, post this acquisition.
“Sheaffer is a brand founded on the spirit of innovation and creativity,” said James Miranda, Chief Executive Officer of the AT Cross Company, the erstwhile owners of Sheaffer, “We are extremely proud of the demand we have generated for Sheaffer products since acquiring the brand in 2014, not only among loyal Sheaffer fans but among new users alike. William Penn is in a key position to now take the reins and continue Sheaffer’s growth and expand its global presence.”