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Paper Source stationery company sold by SoCal private equity firm

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Popular stationery company Paper Source has changed hands, from Southern California private equity firm Brentwood Associates to investment management firm Investcorp.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Chicago-based chain, which sells paper goods, gifts and crafting supplies across 23 states and the District of Columbia, was founded in 1983.

Brentwood contributed capital in 2007. Since then, Paper Source’s store count has increased to 73 units from 21.

Now, there are nearly 20 stores in California alone.

The related $6.6 billion U.S. office stationery manufacturing industry has seen revenue slump 5% on average each year since 2008 and is projected to slide another 1.8% a year through 2018, according to research group IBISWorld.

The market suffered as high unemployment and reduced business activity tamped down demand for consumer products and workplace paper, according to researchers. The rising tide of electronic communication also contributed to the decline.  

“Future prospects for the industry do not look promising, as further downsizing and consolidation are expected in the coming years,” IBISWorld researchers wrote in a report this summer. “However, stationery will not completely disappear because businesses and students use it, and it is a complementary product to many electronics.”

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