William Penn, a multi-brand retailer and distributor of writing instruments and accessories, said it has acquired Sheaffer, a 110-year-old iconic American brand, particularly known for its premium fountain pens.
The Bengaluru-based firm has acquired the brand from A.T. Cross Company, in a transaction that comprises Sheaffer’s complete product portfolio and licenses, including premium pens, journals and gift sets. William Penn didn’t disclose the acquisition value.
As part of the acquisition, it 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.
This is William Penn’s second acquisition after 2016, when it acquired the British brand Lapis Bard and with it, diversified into men’s accessories, including leather bags, wallets, cufflinks, watch chests and pen cases.
“We had this opportunity to acquire this iconic brand, and it was a good fit. We will now design, manufacture and market the brand out of India. 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 in the next 3 years,” Nikhil Ranjan, founder and managing director, William Penn said in an interview.
Since 2003, William Penn has been the exclusive distributor of Sheaffer in India. It retails other global brands such as Montblanc, Cross, Pelikan and Sailor in the country, and is the distributor for some of them.
After the acquisition of the Sheaffer brand, it plans to set up distribution centres in India and outside. It also plans to expand the product range from writing instruments to premium stationery and small leather goods, including cardholders and wallets, said Ranjan, adding it is a “big opportunity”. In the long-term, William Penn may also open up Sheaffer stores.
“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,” said James Miranda, CEO, A.T. Cross Company.
Currently, William Penn has 25 stores across India, including retail outlets at key airports.