13.04.2022Emilie Gassier, Numa Rengot, Pierre Dupuys

Franklin advises Sprint on acquisition of Planet Cards

Freshly crowned Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 by Caractère magazine, Sprint Group CEO Foad Rad has just acquired the business and assets of Planet Cards. On Thursday, March 31, 2022, the Commercial Court in Toulouse selected Sprint over 4 other bidders and finally approved Planet Cards’ asset disposal plan. This acquisition allows Planet Cards to continue as a going concern and maintain jobs across its two production sites in the Toulouse and Marseilles areas.

Founded in 2004, Planet Cards is a top player in the custom card printing industry in France and Germany and employs 66 employees. Its revenue for 2020 was €7.9 million.

The company’s troubles began in 2017, when it made substantial investments in an effort to diversify. Then, the Covid-19 crisis struck just as Planet Cards was to launch its turnaround strategy, exacerbating its financial difficulties. Its business even dropped by 30% between 2019 and 2020. This is because the pandemic put a stop to all the social events on which its entire business relies (weddings, religious ceremonies, birthdays).

Eventually, despite the pre-insolvency in-court reorganization or ‘safeguard proceedings’ (procédure de sauvegarde) initiated in March 2021, the company’s financial predicament and the persistence of the health crisis made it impossible for the group to preserve its jobs and operations unless a buyer could be found.

A call for bids was therefore issued as part of reorganization proceedings commenced on January 31, 2022.

Five bids were received, including Sprint’s. “Sprint’s proposal, its track record of turning around distressed businesses and its plan to maintain operations and jobs at both production sites won over the court, its appointed fiduciaries, as well as staff representatives”, Sprint’s counsel Numa Rengot explained.

Sprint does boast quite a track record. Including Planet Cards, Sprint has completed 19 acquisitions since 2011, 4 of which under court supervision, thus becoming a top player in the French printing industry with over 600 employees.

The acquisition of a B2C web-to-print business will enable the Sprint group to further diversify its operations and bolster its market position.

CBF (Luc Fourquie, Thibaut Patard-Piedmont, Pauline Chemitlin and Benjamin Jurlina) was the court-appointed trustee.

The firm Egide (Alix Brenac) was the court-appointed creditors’ representative.

Franklin’s team advising Sprint was composed of Numa Rengot, Pierre Dupuys, Emilie Gassier and Marouan Fawzi.