Weldon, Williams & Lick (WWL), one of Fort Smith’s oldest companies, and Boynton Beach, Fla.-Worldwide Ticketcraft have announced they will “join their companies.” Terms were not disclosed and the deal is planned to be completed in June.
“This move will consolidate the entrepreneurial drive of WWTC with the strength and capacity of WW&L. Combining the best practices of each company will offer the admissions industry a full suite of products and smart solution choices. Worldwide Ticketcraft will remain in Florida and continue to serve their customers with an expanded product line,” noted a statement sent Monday (May 1) by WWL to Talk Business & Politics.
WWL President Jim Walcott declined to talk specifics of the deal, saying the two companies are in part of the due diligence phase. He said the announcement was made to stay ahead of rumors in the industry.
Erik Covitz, founder and CEO of Worldwide Ticketcraft (WWTC), will serve as vice president of Market Development for WWL “where he will focus on bringing new products and services to the customers of both companies,” noted the WWL statement.
“This is very exciting news for our customers and employees,” Walcott said in the statement to the media. “It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to join with Erik Covitz and his entire team at Worldwide Ticketcraft.”
WWL BACKGROUND, HISTORY
The company, which employs 270, prints tickets, badges and other materials for major sporting events, parks, museums, rodeos, festivals, colleges, building security, and state and local governments. Company officials have said they are secretive about their clients because the clients demand security with the tickets and other sensitive admission items produced by WWL. The company operates out of about 200,000 square feet of floor space in downtown Fort Smith.
WWL has been in business since 1898. William McKinley was the U.S. President, and the country entered and concluded a war with Spain following the sinking of the USS Maine. John D. Rockefeller controlled more than 80% of oil produced in the United States.
The company, based in downtown Fort Smith, is known for being tight-lipped — other than info on the company website — about its products and clients. About 95% of tickets for the Ringling Brothers Circus were at one time printed by WWL. The company in the 1920s began printing tickets for professional sports teams when it won a ticket contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, United Kingdom media reported in February 2012 that WWL won the contract to print about 8.8 million tickets for the 2012 London Olympics. The decision to go with an American firm was criticized in the UK, but Olympic officials stood by their decision.
“The company which won the bid has worked on several previous Games, met all of our criteria around security, budget and scale and has specialist systems in place to personalise, print and package tickets on the scale we require,” according to the London 2012 statement.
WWL has only had four presidents in its 119-year history, C.A. Lick, 1898-1948; his son, Cap Lick, 1948-1961; his grandson, Bud Jackson, 1961-1985; and his great grandson, Jim Walcott, 1985-present.
Worldwide opened its doors in 1999 as Worldwide Ticket and Label and now employs more than 75 people, according to the company’s website. The company produces hundreds of millions of thermal and digital products each year, including reserved seating, point of sale, season books and predesigned tickets.
Worldwide Ticket and Label in January 2006 acquired New York based Ticketcraft and formed Worldwide Ticketcraft. Some of the companies clients include the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival, the official cruise operator for tours of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and the Greek Peak Mountain Resort (skiing lodge) in upstate New York.
”The resources that Weldon, Williams & Lick brings to our company and customers will drive our future growth and new opportunities for our employees,” Covert said in the announcement.