Pantone Sold for $180 Million

X-Rite Inc., a provider of color matching, measuring and simulation solutions, signed an agreement to purchase Pantone Inc. for $180 million in a deal expected to be finalized this fall.

Pantone’s products are used by designers in several industries—including fashion, home deacute;cor, architecture, interior design and digital technology—to identify, match and reproduce colors.

Lawrence Herbert, Pantone chairman and chief executive officer, founded the Carlstadt, N.J.–based company in 1963 when he created a new system for identifying and matching colors to solve the problems of accurately matching and communicating color in the graphic-arts community. Herbert created the Pantone Color Matching System, a book of standardized colors organized in a fan format.

The company has since expanded to include paint- and designer-inspired products, and today, Pantone products are sold through a licensing network in more than 100 countries.

X-Rite, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ with customers in the Americas, Europe and Asia. X-Rite’s products include color measurement and management hardware and software for the printing, packaging, photography, graphic design, video, automotive, paints, plastics, textiles, dental and medical industries.

After the sale is finalized, Pantone will become a new business unit within X-Rite’s operations. Several Pantone executives will remain with the company.

“Larry Herbert and his team have built Pantone into a very successful business, and we are delighted that it will now be part of the X-Rite family,” said Tom Vacchiano, X-Rite’s chief executive officer. “This iconic brand is the perfect complement to X-Rite’s business, bringing Pantone’s expertise and market position in color communication and standards to our color-solutions product offerings. We believe that this strategic acquisition will provide value for our shareholders, customers, employees and partners.”

The acquisition will broaden X-Rite’s product offerings and its global presence. X-Rite’s distribution network will help expand Pantone’s reach, and the combined companies will realize certain synergies in the marketing, operations and administration departments, according to an X-Rite press release. —Alison A. Nieder