American Greetings Corporation, Inc. is the world's largest publicly traded greeting card company. It is based in Brooklyn, Ohio and sells paper greeting cards, electronic greeting cards, party products (such as wrapping papers and decorations) and downloadable content such as cellular phone wallpapers. In addition, the company owns the Carlton Cards, Tender Thoughts, Just For You, and Gibson brands.
The company is known for their toy design and licensing division, Those Characters From Cleveland (now American Greetings Properties), which produces Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and the Holly Hobbie series, among others. American Greetings also holds exclusive license for Nickelodeon characters.
Founded in 1906 by Jacob Sapirstein, who sold cards from a horse-drawn cart, American Greetings has been run by members of the family since its creation. Sapirstein's oldest son was stuffing envelopes at age five, handling the business during his father's illness when he was nine, and worked for the company full-time upon leaving high school. He was succeeded as CEO by his son-in-law in 1987, and took the title "Founder-Chairman" previously held by his father.
In 1993, American Greetings began sponsoring the Entertainment Tonight Birthdays, and remained sponsor until 2000, when competitor Hallmark Cards assumed sponsorship. In 1999, the company bought rival Gibson Greetings and united the second and third largest U.S. greeting card makers. In 2003, Sapirstein's great grandsons became CEO and President respectively; Sapirstein grandchild remains Chairman. In early 2007, American Greetings replaced Kellogg's as the sponsor for Dragon Tales. American Greetings has also branched out onto the Internet, and owns a network of websites. October 25, 2007, it announced the purchase of Webshots from CNET for $45 million in cash.
In 2010, American Greetings announced plans to move its headquarters from Brooklyn, Ohio to a new facility at Crocker Park within the nearby city of Westlake. However, in 2013, the company announced it would delay moving its operations to Westlake. Construction had been scheduled to start in early 2013, and American Greetings said it was only delaying the $150 to $200 million project.In June 2012, American Greetings acquired assets from Clinton Cards PLC together with some of its subsidiaries.American Greetings went private once again in 2013, thus removing itself from all the public markets, agreeing to pay $18.20 per share, valuing the company at $878 million. In 2014, American Greetings sold its Brooklyn, Ohio headquarters to developers and began renting its current offices from the new owners until the move to Westlake, which is scheduled for mid-2016.
Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears
In July 2008, American Greetings announced the sale of its Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears properties to DIC Entertainment (now part of Cookie Jar Entertainment). However, January 9, 2009 it announced that the planned sale had been canceled. As a result, the properties remain under American Greetings' ownership as the company searches for a new buyer. On March 24, 2009, MoonScoop offered to pay $95 million for the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake properties and related rights held by Cookie Jar. Under that deal, American Greetings would pocket $76 million for the animation assets while Cookie Jar would get $19 million for its own rights. March 30, 2009, Cookie Jar made a $76 million counter-bid for Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. Cookie Jar had until April 30, 2009 to complete the deal. If Cookie Jar failed to close the deal, MoonScoop had until June 7, 2009, to complete its own deal with American Greetings. In May 2009, American Greetings filed a $100 million lawsuit against Cookie Jar with Cookie Jar filing a $25 million countersuit against American Greetings over the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake deal.In August, 2009 MoonScoop filed a lawsuit against American Greetings over the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake deal. In February 2015, Iconix Brand Group acquired the rights to Strawberry Shortcake from American Greetings for $105 million.