Bel-Oro Acquires Michael Anthony

Bel-Oro has acquired the operating assets of Michael Anthony Jewelers. The company paid “at least $38 million,” says president and chief executive officer Dennis Ulrich. Michael Anthony will continue as its own entity and retain its Westchester headquarters and current management team, including Michael Paolercio, Anthony Paolercio, and Shelly Light, who are now executives with Bel-Oro.

“We are looking at the Bel-Oro companies as a collection of brands,” says Mark Hanna, vice president of marketing for Bel-Oro. “We want to preserve the brands as they are. Certainly over time we will look for optimal efficiencies.” Bel-Oro International currently includes the Bel-Oro, Pace, and Sardelli companies, Ulrich says. Michael Anthony was an attractive acquisition target because it is strong in rope chains, charms, and tubing, areas in which Bel-Oro is not involved.

And he expects a lot more consolidation in the industry. “Like other industries, whether it’s Exxon-Mobil or AT&T and Cingular, we see there is a need for consolidation among the suppliers,” he says. Michael Paolercio, the founder and head of Michael Anthony who is now an executive with Bel-Oro, agrees. “The industry is probably overdue when it comes to consolidation on the manufacturing side,” he says. “We have seen a tremendous amount of consolidation on the retail end.”

“Bigger is definitely bigger,” he said. “You can do more; you can have more product lines, more talented people. I like to think of this as: ‘When you put two good companies together, you get a great one.’” He added: “I’m happy that the Michael Anthony brand will live on. We have signed long term contracts and we expect to be part of this senior-management team for many years to come.”

Bel-Oro International has also acquired the Mador factory, owned and operated by Michael Anthony in the Dominican Republic. Once a public company, Michael Anthony has been delisted.

As part of the financing for the transaction, Bel-Oro has finalized a new multiyear commitment led by Sovereign Bank and ABN AMRO Bank N.V., in addition to J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A. and HSBC Bank USA, National Association, to provide it with senior credit facilities.