Champion Industries Inc., a Huntington, W.Va.-based business form printer, announced yesterday that it had agreed to buy Baltimore-based U.S. Tag & Ticket, the nation's oldest maker of paper tags, for $1.1 million in stock.
Tom Burdette, president of the privately owned tag company, a division of U.S. Tag & Label, said that Champion planned to keep operating the 30-worker East Baltimore plant.
Mr. Burdette said the tag company's owners had turned down other, more lucrative offers from competitors who planned to shut the Baltimore plant.
"It would have been more money, but we weren't going to have them close the plant," Mr. Burdette said. Instead, he said, Champion may expand the Baltimore operations.
The tag company, which will operate as U.S. Tag, sold about $2.5 million worth of tags last year, he said.
Champion Industries, a publicly held company, had sales of $39 million in its latest fiscal year.
The 91-year-old U.S. Tag & Ticket occupies the first floor of a plant on Robb Street. There, workers make everything from baggage tags used by cruise ships to mail tags used by the U.S. Postal Service.
U.S. Tag & Label's label division, which has about 20 workers and operates on the second floor of the building, will continue operating independently as U.S. Label.
Champion Industries has markets in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Carolinas.