Over 150 different decks in stock and ready to ship!



United States Playing Card Company Ownership History, Briefly

Posted by Reid Carlberg on

The United States Playing Card Company has been around for a long time and has a lot of history, most of which you can read elsewhere, but there are a couple of footnotes I find curious and interesting about its ownership.

I enjoy decks that point out that USPCC is a subsidiary of the Jarden Corporation, which had purchased it in 2004. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Jarden, a spinoff of Ball Corporation originally focused on the canning supplies business, would buy a playing card manufacturing company.  But I have a theory.

In a New York Times article about the acquisition at the time, CEO of Jarden Martin E Franklin (39 years old at that time!) calls USPCC a high cash flow company that dominates it's market. The article also points out that USPCC was once owned by his father, Roland Franklin, and I can't help wonder if there isn't a father-son thing going on. The Wikipedia articles are definitely worth a peek if you're interested in hostile takeovers and other interesting bits of business history. The strategy apparently worked as younger Franklin is now a knight.

Jarden was bought by Newell Rubbermaid for $13.2b in December, 2015,  Fast forward a few years. Cartamundi bought USPCC for $220M in 2019, which is noteworthy as Jarden had paid $240M (or $232M) in 2004. Adjusted for inflation that's a drop in value of almost $80M. WOW! I'm guessing the drop in value can be attributed to the large increase in quality manufacturers of playing cards around the world, but that's a guess.  A great buy for Cartamundi, that's for sure.

Abundant cash flow attracts all kinds! Here's a much more detailed and amazing history of USPCC that's worth a look. Also the United Cardists post is great.

The Jarden purchase inspired a question: who did they buy it from? They bought it from local private investors who had paid $140m for it in 1994, according to a note in the 11/23/94 edition of the New York Times (D4). Inflation adjusted, that’s $178m in 2004 dollars, which means an ROI to the original investors of about $54m or roughly 30% over 10 years. What this equation misses is any cash the business generated during that time.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3068.jpg