Staffmark to Merge with CBS Personnel

Staffmark Investment LLC, the staffing firm owned by the Stephens family of Little Rock for more than seven years, will merge with CBS Personnel Holdings Inc. of Cincinnati in January.

SF Holding Corp., the Stephens family holding company, will be "a significant minority shareholder" in the combined business, according to a statement released late Wednesday afternoon.

"This is a very good deal for both parties. It is a strategic fit and the big winner will be our customers," Frank Thomas, spokesman for SF Holding, said.

CBS, founded in 1970, operates 145 locations in 18 states, none in Arkansas. It is owned by publicly traded Compass Diversified Holdings (Nasdaq:CODI). Staffmark has 222 locations in 29 states, including 21 in Arkansas.

"With over $1 billion of aggregate revenues, the combined company will benefit from the expanded business lines and best practices of both companies," according to the statement from SF Holding. "Its larger geographic platform should allow it to service more locations of its larger existing customers, while maintaining its focus on quality service and human capital recruitment for all of its customers. For the near future, the company intends to operate under its current three brand names: Staffmark, CBS Personnel and Venturi Staffing Partners."

Staffmark was created and taken public in 1996 through the merger of six Southeastern temporary service agencies. The company continued making acquisitions, but eventually sank under its rapid growth. The largest division was sold to the Stephens interests

in mid-2000, and the Intellimark division (later renamed Technisource) was sold later that year.

The remaining publicly traded company was renamed Edgewater Technology Inc. and its headquarters was moved to Wakefield, Mass.

The sale of Technisource was announced last month.