The closely held American Field Publishing Company has been acquired by the family of Barbara and Bernie Matthys in a stock purchase concluded on February 11, 2011. The Matthys family, whose members already held share interests of over 40% of the company, purchased the remaining stock from extended family members and now owns 100% of the company.
This transaction exemplifies the tradition of family ownership of niche publishing businesses, continuing through generations. Barbara Matthys is the daughter of former company owner William F. Brown, who began working at the American Field in 1926, acquired the company in 1956, and served as its publisher through the rest of his life. Her husband, Bernie, has been a key employee of American Field for nearly four decades. The members of the next generation of the Matthys family all participated in the share purchase.
Bernie Matthys reflects on the meaning of the purchase by his family members by saying, “Since my earliest days with the American Field more than 35 years ago, I have taken a special personal interest in the sport of field trials and the people who participate in it, as well as the success of the business. It is especially gratifying for me now to be an owner of the company.”
American Field is the oldest, continually published sporting dog journal in the United States, established in 1874. That year it covered the first-ever recorded pointing dog field trial competition, an event that launched a sport that would grow nationally. Each week the American Field provides its readers with the latest news on purebred sporting dogs and field trial competition results. It also covers the field trial sport for both open and amateur events, including horseback and walking events involving various upland game bird species.
The company also established the Field Dog Stud Book all-breed registry in 1900 that contains records of several million dogs of all breeds. Each year the American Field helps thousands of dog owners with documentation, registration and certification of pedigrees, and DNA services. It is the oldest purebred stud book in the United States and includes litter enrollments, registrations of different purebred dogs, pedigree research and certification.
“I am pleased that Bernie Matthys and his family have acquired the American Field,” said Bill Brown, a longtime stockholder and former board member, who was one of the selling shareholders. “This is a natural fit since Bernie has been running day to day operations for many years.”
Cribb, Greene & Associates of Charlottesville, VA, and VisionPoint Group Ltd of Chicago, represented the parties in the sale. For additional information, please contact Gary Greene at (434) 971-8344 or Mary Elworth at (312) 286-9005.