strategic join venture

Capstone Partners Advises Johnson Creek on Acquisition by Republic Tobacco

March 2014

Boston, MA – Capstone Partners LLC, a leading investment banking firm, announced that it has successfully advised Johnson Creek Enterprises LLC (“JCE”) in the sale of 50% of its ownership to Republic Tobacco LP.  The transaction marks Republic Tobacco’s strategic move into the burgeoning electronic cigarette and consumer vaping markets.  By joining forces with Republic, Johnson Creek Smoke Juice and accessories will soon be available in thousands of outlets throughout the country.   

Founded in 2008, JCE is a leading manufacturer of e-liquids, or Smoke Juice, for use in electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) as well as e-cigarette hardware and related accessories.  Based in Hartland, Wisconsin, JCE is the first and only company to manufacture e-liquids in the U.S. as well as use ingredients sourced solely from U.S.-based companies.  JCE was recognized in 2013 as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in America by Inc. magazine and has been featured in Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Business Week.

Republic Tobacco is the nation's largest distributor of roll-your-own and make-your-own tobacco products and accessories.  Some of Republic's other brands include Top, Job, Gambler, Drum, Largo and Tube Cut.

"This is a perfect fit for both of our companies," said Christian Berkey, Johnson Creek's Founder and CEO.  Steve Sandman, President of Republic Tobacco agrees.  "Republic Tobacco has been carefully studying the "e" market for a number of years now, and we finally found the perfect fit for our company, both in terms of reputation and product quality," said Sandman.  "Consumers in the "e" category have shown they prefer to make their own "e" product, by selecting their preferred device and their preferred liquid.  We believe that this is a new make-your-own product for consumers, and now Republic will be able to offer the highest quality product on the market.”

“Johnson Creek runs an impressive operation dedicated to producing the highest quality and safest products,” commented John Ferrara, Founder and President of Capstone.  “This transaction provides Johnson Creek with an excellent growth partner that will allow the company to scale appropriately in order to take advantage of the growing e-cigarette category.”