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Gould Paper Corporation Business Information, Profile, and History

company acquired subsidiary papers

11 Madison Avenue
New York
New York
10010
U.S.A.

Company Perspectives

Gould is both sales-oriented and customer-focused. It is currently operating at a sales level in excess of $1 billion.

History of Gould Paper Corporation

Gould Paper Corporation is a privately owned, New York City-based paper distributor, representing major domestic and offshore mills. The company's business is divided among 15 divisions, which offer newsprint, fine papers, and papers used in commercial printing, direct mail, and envelopes, as well as computer paper, copy paper, and multipurpose paper. Gould also offers fine art papers, handmade paper, gift wrapping, matte papers for framing, and archival digital papers. Gould's paperboard products are used in food-service applications, liquid packaging, corrugated boxes, and other packaging materials. In addition, the company provides related services, such as supply chain management, job costing, waste control, pressroom support, and consulting services. Gould maintains 20 domestic units and operates in another dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the People's Republic of China. In addition to paper, Gould is involved in nut harvesting and mowing equipment through its Weiss McNair Ramacher unit.

Founding the Company in 1924

Gould Paper Corporation was founded in 1924 by Harry Edward Gould, Sr., in New York City. The business sold both domestic and imported paper, mostly used in the making of greeting cards. The company grew internally over the next 20 years before completing its first acquisition in 1943, when it bought Reinhold Card & Paper, which had been doing business in New York City since 1906. By the end of the decade, Gould had expanded its product lines to include commercial printing paper, teabag paper, and nonwoven web products such as stencil paper. The company continued to grow steadily in the 1950s and 1960s. An import/export company called Caylye Paper was formed in 1955 as a joint venture between subsidiary Reinhold-Gould and Alfred Hernball. Another significant paper acquisition came in 1968 with the addition of Champion International, the New York unit of Whitaker Paper Company. Harry Gould's business interests were not confined solely to paper, however. Before the United States' entry into World War II, he and partner Francis Levien had the foresight to acquire a struggling steel manufacturer. The company, Steel Materials Corporation, thrived on Navy contracts. After the war, in 1950, the partners bought another steel mill in Ohio, and then traded it for Universal Laboratories, maker of printing inks. As Universal American, it became a holding company that would be merged with Gulf & Western Industries in 1968.

By the end of the 1960s Gould Paper was generating annual sales in the neighborhood of $16 million. It was at this point that Harry Gould convinced his son, Harry Edward Gould, Jr., to take the reins. The younger Gould, born in New York in 1938, earned an undergraduate degree from Colgate University in 1960 and also studied at Oxford University in England. He then entered the Harvard Business School and left to work in the finance department at Goldman Sachs & Co. before eventually earning a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia University in 1964. He spent some time working at Universal American, followed by several years in Detroit at Young Spring & Wire Corp., where he worked his way up to executive vice-president and chief operating officer. In 1969 he left to become the president, chief executive officer, and chairman of Gould Paper.

Harry Gould, Jr., brought new energy and ambition to the company and quickly moved to expand the business, both in terms of product lines and geography. Over the next 30 years, he bought half-a-dozen paper distributors and added eight divisions. In 1978, for example, Gould Paper opened a Dallas sales office to become involved in the catalog business of high-end retailers like Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus. Another subsidiary controlled by Gould Paper was the Clifford-Gould Paper Corporation, assembled between 1982 and 1985 when the sales operations of New York paper distributor Majestic Paper Corporation were acquired, followed by the addition of another area competitor, Olympic Paper Company. Another New York City rival, Capital Paper Company, was acquired in 1989, the same year that Gould Paper shed an asset, Aldine Specialty Paper, sold to a stockholder.

First Non-Paper Acquisition in 1969

Like his father, Gould did not limit his business interests to paper, making acquisitions in other areas, although he elected to fold them into Gould Paper rather than own them under a separate entity. His first acquisition outside of paper came in 1969 with the addition of Samuel Porritt & Co., an Illinois machine shop that Gould would own until it shut down in 1986. Next came the 1971 purchase of Ingalls Manufacturing, Inc., a California agricultural equipment maker, specializing in nut harvesting equipment. Over the ensuing decade, Gould expanded this business by acquiring other California companies: Weiss Manufacturing, Inc.; McNair Manufacturing, Inc.; and Vrisimo Manufacturing, Inc. These businesses were packaged into Chicago, California-based Weis McNair Division, which became Weiss McNair Ramacher in 1996 after it acquired one of its top competitors, Ramacher Manufacturing.

In the 1980s Gould became involved in the entertainment industry when he took charge of a struggling movie production company called Cinema Group, formed by Merrill Lynch. He soon turned around the company, releasing ten films, seven of them through the Paramount studio, from 1983 to 1986. The company was involved in the making of the hit film Flashdance, the profits of which made up for the losses accumulated by Gould's predecessors. Cinema Group also produced movies such as Staying Alive, the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, Star Trek III, and The Philadelphia Experiment. He also produced another film, The Runestone, with a different company in 1990. As a result of this sideline, Gould became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and would each year vote on the Oscar Awards.

Gould was able to focus more of his attention to growing his paper company in the 1990s. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Whiting-Patterson Company, purveyor of fine paper, was acquired from American Envelope in 1991. A year later, in May 1992, Gould Paper purchased a Richard Lewis Paper Corporation subsidiary to add operations in Miami and the Chicago suburb of Northfield, Illinois. The following month, Gould Paper acquired a longtime Mead Corporation subsidiary, now the Bermco Division of WWF Paper Company (Wilcox Walter Furlong). In July 1992 Gould Paper established a second Dallas-area subsidiary, BRW Paper Company, a paper merchant that would operate throughout Texas and Kansas, staffed primarily by the former salespeople of the Texas operation of Minneapolis-based Leslie Paper Company, which was in the process of being purchased by International Paper Company. To close out 1992, Gould Paper bought most of Select Paper Company from Buffalo, New York-based Sofco, creating the core of an Albany, New York division.

Expansion continued for Gould Paper in the mid-1990s. Willow Grove, Pennsylvania-based Total Business Papers was acquired in March of that year to bolster the company's Mid-Atlantic Division. Total Business distributed printing and office paper products in the Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey markets surrounding Philadelphia. Later in the year, Gould Paper acquired Miami, Florida-based Southern Paper Company through the Richard Lewis subsidiary acquired the previous year. In 1994 Gould Paper grew internally, in March of that year forming Legion Paper to distribute art paper products, and three months later opening a 70,000-square-foot warehouse in Edison, New Jersey to distribute its products throughout the United States.

Around the same time, Atlantic Paper group was established in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, staffed by personnel lured away from New Jersey's Milton Paper. Also in 1994, Gould Paper opened a sales office in Laurel, Maryland, to sell paper to commercial printers and other Mid-Atlantic corridor customers; the company's Florida business was beefed up by launching Gould's Paper House, to distribute paper products to the fast-growing Tampa-Orlando area; and Gould Paper subsidiary Fibreweb, producer of newsprint, reopened a Canadian paper mill. Gould paper opened a sales office in Spring Valley, Ohio, in 1996 to service printers and publishers across the United States. In May 1996 the company acquired Diamond Paper Corporation, a Sterling, Virginia-based distributor of copy and computer paper and other office supplies in the Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia area.

New Century Advances

Gould Paper ended the 1990s with nine divisions combining to generate annual sales of some $600 million. The company continued to expand with the start of the new century. In 2000 it established what it called the "MOM and POP" program to distribute coated paper from Mead ("Mountains of Mead") and Consolidated Paper ("Pounds of Consolidated Paper"). By building up its inventories of these products, Gould Paper was able to provide printers with same- or next-day delivery on a wide variety of gloss, dull, or matte coated papers in most popular sizes. Other distributors, carrying lower inventories, could not provide the same service to printers, who either had to buy paper larger than needed and cut it down to size or wait for an order to be shipped direct from the mill.

Another 2000 initiative was a joint venture with Philadelphia's WWF Paper Corporation that was intended to create the largest independent distributor of fine papers in North America. The alliance was forged as a way for the two companies to keep pace in an industry experiencing consolidation on the supply side, as paper manufacturers merged to achieve economies of scale, and customers, who were growing larger to achieve greater buying power and other benefits that came with size. The Gould/WWF joint venture made sense because they were of similar size and filled in gaps in each other's business. For example, WWF had a presence in Canada and the United Kingdom that Gould Paper lacked. Although the semi-merger failed to materialize, Gould Paper was nevertheless able to achieve a major part of its goals in 2002 when it acquired WWF International UK Ltd. and subsidiary Paper Sales UK Limited, companies with more than 30 years of experience in selling fine papers to book and magazine publishers and greeting card companies. The most significant deal in the history of Gould Paper, it added some $300 million in annual sales and provided a foothold in Europe on which the company could make further acquisitions. Gould was in no hurry to expand the European business, however, opting instead to proceed with caution. "We're talking walking pace here, not running pace," he told Printing World. "We'll be looking more at brokerage rather than selling out of a warehouse."

On the domestic side, Gould Paper took a number of steps in 2002 and 2003. It formed a pair of new divisions. One of them, Gould North America, was established in the Boston area to service U.S. catalog, magazine, and newspaper publishers. Gould International Packaging, meanwhile, was formed in Greenwich, Connecticut, to sell paperboard used in the food-service, folding carton, and corrugated industries, as well as providing some plastic products used in the packaging industry. Later in the year, Gould Paper acquired the Town Paper Corporation division Paper Dynamix, which bought and sold mill closeouts, side trims, excess inventory, and other clearance items from major mills as well as other sources. In 2003 Gould Paper established a joint venture with New Jersey-based Siclar Corporation to operate a pair of rotary sheeters to provide contract paper converting services--such as sheeting, cutting and trimming, and cartoning--to paper mills, paper merchants, brokers, and end users in the New York City area. Also in 2003, the Miami operation bought a sheeter and launched a new subsidiary, Alliance Converting, to serve printing customers in south Florida.

Gould Paper made advances both home and abroad in 2004. Early in the year WWF UK completed a friendly takeover of Salehurst Group, a United Kingdom-based paper merchant. Not only did Gould Paper strengthen its position in the United Kingdom, it gained a French paper distributor, Gallium EURL, operating out of Paris. This was followed by the creation of a new subsidiary, WWF Paper & Board Limited, to add an operation in Brentwood, Essex, in the United Kingdom. Gould Paper's position in the country was further strengthened with the acquisition of Price & Pierce, a London Stock Exchange-listed paper merchant with a history that dated back to 1869. Price & Pierce also brought with it operations in Helsinki, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Auckland. As a result, Gould Paper was well positioned to operate in an increasingly global marketplace.

In 2005 the company merged its business papers divisions to form Gould Office Papers. Gould Paper completed another acquisition in February 2006, buying Missouri-based Boone Paper company, which was folded into subsidiary BRW Paper Co. to supplement Gould's Midwest business.

Principal Subsidiaries

BRW Paper Co., Inc.; Price & Pierce International Inc.; Gallium EURL; WWF International Ltd.

Principal Competitors

Cascades Inc.; International Paper Company; Sappi Fine Paper North America.

Chronology

  • Key Dates
  • 1924 The company is founded by Harry Edward Gould.
  • 1943 Reinhold Card & Paper is acquired.
  • 1969 Harry Edward Gould, Jr., is named president, CEO, and chairman.
  • 1978 The Dallas sales office is opened.
  • 1992 Richard Lewis Paper Corporation is acquired.
  • 2002 WWF International UK Ltd. is acquired.
  • 2004 The Salehurst Group is acquired.
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