ECRM sold to investment firm Snow Phipps

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NEW YORK — ECRM has been sold by BV Investment Partners to private equity firm Snow Phipps Group.

Financial terms of the agreement, announced Thursday, weren’t disclosed. BV Investment Partners had acquired ECRM in July 2013, at which time Greg Farrar joined ECRM as chief executive officer.

Solon, Ohio-based ECRM facilitates category-specific buying and selling between consumer packaged goods (CPG) retailers and manufacturers via its Efficient Program Planning Sessions (EPPS) and proprietary software that streamlines interactions between trading partners. ECRM serves manufacturers and retailers within a range of product categories, including health and beauty care, general merchandise, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and electronics, among others.

Campbell Langdon_Snow Phipps_ECRM_headshot

Campbell Langdon

“ECRM is extremely pleased to partner with the Snow Phipps team,” Farrar said in a statement. “We believe that together we will be able to offer even more exciting EPPS meetings and value-added services to our customers. We appreciate their support of the senior management team and look forward to executing on our shared strategic vision.”

Plans call for New York-based Snow Phipps to partner with the current ECRM management team led by Farrar and for Snow Phipps operating partner Campbell Langdon, who focuses on business services, to join ECRM as nonexecutive chairman. Langdon serves as chairman of Snow Phipps portfolio companies ZeroChaos and HCTec, and he previously held roles at Automatic Data Processing and McKinsey.

“Snow Phipps is excited to partner with management to begin executing on a significant number of attractive growth opportunities,” commented Snow Phipps partner Alan Mantel. “The ECRM team has an impressive track record of improving the buying and selling process, and we look forward to supporting the management team as they continue to find additional ways to serve customers and expand into new product categories.”

Founded in 1994 by Charlie Bowlus and his son Mitch, ECRM — Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing — is known for its strategic events and promotional tracking and analysis in the CPG industry. Mitch Bowlus became president of ECRM in June 2011 after having served as chief financial officer, and his father passed away at age 64 in August 2011. Mitch Bowlus stepped down as president upon ECRM’s acquisition by BV Investment Partners and the hiring of Farrar, formerly CEO of Trade Only Design Library (TODL), an online product research and specification library.

“Over the last three years, we have worked closely with CEO Greg Farrar and the management team to execute successfully on our multifaceted strategic operating plan for ECRM,” stated Justin Harrison, managing director of Boston-based BV Investment Partners. “The achievements include increasing attendance at existing EPPS meetings, expanding into new categories, acquiring a complementary outdoor sporting press event business, upgrading the software, and creating year-round client engagement through the creation of unique content and revising the sales model. Greg and his team also successfully scaled and sold ECRM’s data business during the course of our ownership. We’re very pleased with the outcome of these efforts for both our investors and ECRM’s clients and employees.”


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