Making consumer products is one thing, but selling them is another, and that's where Advantage Sales & Marketing (ASM) comes in. The company provides outsourced sales, merchandising, and marketing services to consumer goods and food product manufacturers and suppliers. It works to win optimal placement of clients' products at retail locations throughout the US and Canada, and it offers a variety of promotional programs aimed at boosting sales. Owning more than 65 offices in the US and Canada, ASM does merchandising for 1,200 clients -- including Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Unilever, Energizer. Investment group Apax Partners owns a controlling stake in the company, which was established in 1987.
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Apax Partners bought its 85% stake in ASM in late 2010 from J.W. Childs Associates and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity in a deal worth a reported $1.8 billion. Apax has expertise in the retail and consumer products sectors, and ASM hopes the buyout will help it achieve growth internationally, mainly due to Apax's extensive list of global contacts and worldwide reach.
The company is comprised of several specialized marketing companies: Campaigners, IN Marketing Services, PromoPoint, Shopper Events, and TryFoods.
Along with rivals Acosta and CROSSMARK, ASM is one of just a few players in its industry that operates nationwide. The company has taken advantage of its scale to expand its services beyond supermarkets to retail venues such as hardware stores, electronics retailers, and home centers. It also has been investing through acquisitions.
In late 2012 ASM agreed to acquire Action West Group, a group of six marketing companies that serve retail meat, seafood, deli, and bakery clients. Through the purchase ASM plans to enter a new market with the launch of Advantage Action, a new division focused on these customers in the perishable industry. – less