Company Quick10K Filing
ACCO Brands
Price9.82 EPS1
Shares102 P/E10
MCap1,001 P/FCF13
Net Debt876 EBIT170
TEV1,877 TEV/EBIT11
TTM 2019-09-30, in MM, except price, ratios
10-K 2020-12-31 Filed 2021-02-26
10-Q 2020-09-30 Filed 2020-10-28
10-Q 2020-06-30 Filed 2020-07-29
10-Q 2020-03-31 Filed 2020-05-05
10-K 2019-12-31 Filed 2020-02-27
10-Q 2019-09-30 Filed 2019-10-30
10-Q 2019-06-30 Filed 2019-07-31
10-Q 2019-03-31 Filed 2019-05-02
10-K 2018-12-31 Filed 2019-02-27
10-Q 2018-09-30 Filed 2018-10-30
10-Q 2018-06-30 Filed 2018-07-31
10-Q 2018-03-31 Filed 2018-05-01
10-K 2017-12-31 Filed 2018-02-28
10-Q 2017-09-30 Filed 2017-11-01
10-Q 2017-06-30 Filed 2017-08-03
10-Q 2017-03-31 Filed 2017-05-09
10-K 2016-12-31 Filed 2017-02-27
10-Q 2016-09-30 Filed 2016-10-26
10-Q 2016-06-30 Filed 2016-08-02
10-Q 2016-03-31 Filed 2016-04-27
10-K 2015-12-31 Filed 2016-02-24
10-Q 2015-09-30 Filed 2015-10-28
10-Q 2015-06-30 Filed 2015-07-29
10-Q 2015-03-31 Filed 2015-04-29
10-K 2014-12-31 Filed 2015-02-25
10-Q 2014-09-30 Filed 2014-10-29
10-Q 2014-06-30 Filed 2014-07-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Filed 2014-04-30
10-K 2013-12-31 Filed 2014-02-25
10-Q 2013-09-30 Filed 2013-10-31
10-Q 2013-06-30 Filed 2013-08-06
10-Q 2013-03-31 Filed 2013-05-08
10-K 2012-12-31 Filed 2013-02-28
10-Q 2012-09-30 Filed 2012-10-31
10-Q 2012-06-30 Filed 2012-08-09
10-Q 2012-03-31 Filed 2012-05-10
10-K 2011-12-31 Filed 2012-02-23
10-Q 2011-09-30 Filed 2011-10-26
10-Q 2011-06-30 Filed 2011-07-27
10-Q 2011-03-31 Filed 2011-04-27
10-K 2010-12-31 Filed 2011-02-24
10-Q 2010-09-30 Filed 2010-10-27
10-Q 2010-06-30 Filed 2010-07-28
10-Q 2010-03-31 Filed 2010-05-07
10-K 2009-12-31 Filed 2010-02-26
8-K 2021-02-16 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2020-12-17 M&A, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2020-11-10
8-K 2020-10-27
8-K 2020-08-27
8-K 2020-07-28
8-K 2020-06-02
8-K 2020-05-19
8-K 2020-05-01
8-K 2020-04-17
8-K 2020-04-12
8-K 2020-03-16
8-K 2020-03-02
8-K 2020-02-11
8-K 2019-10-29
8-K 2019-08-07
8-K 2019-08-05
8-K 2019-07-30
8-K 2019-05-23
8-K 2019-05-21
8-K 2019-05-02
8-K 2019-04-04
8-K 2019-02-13
8-K 2018-10-30
8-K 2018-10-16
8-K 2018-07-26
8-K 2018-05-15
8-K 2018-05-01
8-K 2018-03-26
8-K 2018-03-07
8-K 2018-02-14

ACCO 10K Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results Of
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10 - K Summary
EX-21.1 acco-2020xq4ex211.htm
EX-23.1 acco-2020xq4ex231.htm
EX-24.1 acco-2020xq4ex241.htm
EX-31.1 acco-2020xq4ex311.htm
EX-31.2 acco-2020xq4ex312.htm
EX-32.1 acco-2020xq4ex321.htm
EX-32.2 acco-2020xq4ex322.htm

ACCO Brands Earnings 2020-12-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow
3.02.41.81.20.60.02012201420172020
Assets, Equity
0.60.50.30.20.0-0.12012201420172020
Rev, G Profit, Net Income
0.40.30.1-0.0-0.2-0.32012201420172020
Ops, Inv, Fin

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
___________________________________________________________
Form 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from            to            
Commission File Number 001-08454
ACCO Brands Corporation
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
Delaware36-2704017
(State or Other Jurisdiction
of Incorporation or Organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
Four Corporate Drive
Lake Zurich, Illinois 60047
(Address of Registrant’s Principal Executive Office, Including Zip Code)
(847) 541-9500
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value $.01 per shareACCONYSE
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☑    No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐    No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes ☑    No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).     Yes ☑    No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes     No ☑

As of June 30, 2020, the aggregate market value of the shares of Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $647.9 million. As of February 16, 2021, the registrant had outstanding 95,030,156 shares of Common Stock.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be issued in connection with registrant’s annual stockholders' meeting expected to be held on May 19, 2021 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.



Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K other than statements of historical fact, particularly those anticipating future financial performance, business prospects, growth, operating strategies and similar matters, including without limitation, statements concerning the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company's business, operations, results of operations, liquidity and financial condition, are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of management based on information available to us at the time such statements are made. These statements, which are generally identifiable by the use of the words "will," "believe," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "estimate," "forecast," "project," "plan," and similar expressions, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, are made as of the date hereof, and we undertake no duty or obligation to update them. Because actual results may differ materially from those suggested or implied by such forward-looking statements, you should not place undue reliance on them when deciding whether to buy, sell or hold the Company's securities.

Our outlook is based on certain assumptions, which we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. These include, without limitation, assumptions regarding both the near-term and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and our business, our customers and the end-users of our products, and other changes in the macro environment; changes in the competitive landscape, including ongoing uncertainties in the traditional office products channels; as well as the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency and acquisitions and the other factors described below.

Among the factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements are: the scope and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, government actions and other third-party responses to it and the consequences for the global economy, as well as the regional and local economies in which we operate, uncertainties regarding when the risks of the pandemic will subside and how geographies, distribution channels and consumer behaviors will evolve over time in response to the pandemic, and its impact on our business, operations, results of operations and financial condition, including, among others, manufacturing, distribution and supply chain disruptions, reduced demand for our products and services, and the financial condition of our suppliers and customers, including their ability to fund their operations and pay their invoices. Additionally, many of the other risk factors affecting us are currently elevated by, and likely will continue to be elevated by, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the factors that could affect our results or cause plans, actions and results to differ materially from current expectations are detailed in "Part I, Item 1. Business" and "Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors" and the discussion under the heading "COVID-19 Impact" as well as the financial statement line item discussions set forth in "Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and from time to time in our other Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") filings.

Website Access to Securities and Exchange Commission Reports

The Company’s Internet website can be found at www.accobrands.com. The information contained on or connected to our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K and should not be considered part of this or any other report we file with the SEC. The Company makes available free of charge on or through its website its Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as soon as practicable after the Company files them with, or furnishes them to, the SEC. We also make available the following documents on our Internet website: the Audit Committee Charter; the Compensation and Human Capital Committee Charter; the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee Charter; the Finance and Planning Committee Charter; the Executive Committee Charter; our Corporate Governance Principles; and our Code of Conduct. The Company’s Code of Conduct applies to all of our directors, officers (including the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer) and employees. You may obtain a copy of any of the foregoing documents, free of charge, if you submit a written request to ACCO Brands Corporation, Four Corporate Drive, Lake Zurich, IL 60047, Attn: Investor Relations.




TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I
ITEM 1.
ITEM 1A.
ITEM 1B.
ITEM 2.
ITEM 3.
ITEM 4.
PART II
ITEM 5.
ITEM 6.
ITEM 7.
ITEM 7A.
ITEM 8.
ITEM 9.
ITEM 9A.
ITEM 9B.
PART III
ITEM 10.
ITEM 11.
ITEM 12.
ITEM 13.
ITEM 14.
PART IV
ITEM 15.
ITEM 16.



PART I
ITEM 1. BUSINESS

As used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, the terms "ACCO Brands," "ACCO," the "Company," "we," "us," and "our" refer to ACCO Brands Corporation, a Delaware corporation incorporated in 2005, and its consolidated domestic and international subsidiaries.

For a description of certain factors that may have had, or may in the future have, a significant impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations, see "Item 1A. Risk Factors."

Overview of the Company

ACCO Brands designs, markets, and manufactures well-recognized consumer, school, technology and office products. Our widely known brands include AT-A-GLANCE®, Barrilito®, Derwent®, Esselte®, Five Star®, Foroni®, GBC®, Hilroy®, Kensington®, Leitz®, Marbig®, Mead®, NOBO®, PowerA®, Quartet®, Rapid®, Rexel®, Swingline®, Tilibra®, TruSens® and Wilson Jones®. Approximately 75 percent of our sales come from brands that occupy the No. 1 or No. 2 position in the product categories in which we compete. Our top 12 brands represented $1.3 billion of our 2020 net sales. We distribute our products through a wide variety of retail and commercial channels to ensure that our products are readily and conveniently available for purchase by consumers and other end-users, wherever they prefer to shop. These channels include mass retailers, e-tailers, discount, drug/grocery and variety chains; warehouse clubs; hardware and specialty stores; independent office product dealers; office superstores; wholesalers; contract stationers, technology specialty businesses, and our direct-to-consumer channel. Our products are sold primarily in the U.S., Europe, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. For the year ended December 31, 2020, approximately 44 percent of our net sales were in the U.S.

ACCO Brands is in the midst of a substantive transformation of its business. Today we are a global enterprise focused on developing innovative branded consumer and technology products for use in businesses, schools, and homes. Sales in the commercial channels have been declining for several years, and customers within the channel have been consolidating. Therefore, we have refocused our business to sell more in the mass merchant, e-commerce and technology channels to increase growth and profitability and to reduce reliance on declining customers and commoditized product categories. The commercial channel was also significantly impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. As a result of both of these factors, our top five customers represented 34 percent of our sales in 2020, compared with 43 percent in 2016.

We have been strategically transforming our business to be more consumer- and brand-centric, product differentiated, and geographically diverse. We are successfully achieving this transformation through both organic initiatives and acquisitions. Organically, we have grown our Kensington® computer accessories offerings and entered the wellness category with TruSens® branded air purifiers, which we plan to expand over the next few years. ACCO remains a leading supplier of school products, including our top-selling Five Star® line of school notebooks, laminating machines, and stapling and punching products, among others. We have refreshed most of our line of shredders in EMEA over the past three years, improving consumer designs. This refresh includes a new line of personal shredders to capitalize on the work-from-home environment. Shredder sales have remained strong, and we plan to leverage our platforms globally. During 2020, EMEA also launched organization and storage products for home offices under the Leitz® WOW and Leitz® Cosy brands.

Our approach to acquisitions has been focused on consolidation, geographic expansion, and adjacency opportunities that meet our strategic and financial criteria. Strategically, we are focusing on categories or geographies that provide opportunities for growth, leading brands, and channel diversity. We have made five acquisitions over the past five years. These acquisitions have meaningfully expanded our portfolio of well-known brands, enhanced our competitive position from both a product and channel perspective, and added scale to our operations. As a result, our foreign businesses contributed over half of our sales in 2020, up from 43 percent in 2016.

Our most recent acquisition of PowerA in late 2020 is about accelerating growth and entering into an attractive consumer product adjacency of third-party video game controllers, power charging stations, and headsets. The addition of PowerA will meaningfully improve our organic sales growth and profitability and increase our presence in faster growing mass and e-commerce channels. PowerA is expected to provide strong double-digit sales growth in the U.S., as well as opportunities for expansion internationally, particularly in Europe. It greatly advances our strategic shift toward consumer, school and technology products as more than half of our sales will now come from these product categories, which offer faster growing demand. On a pro forma basis, including full year PowerA sales for 2020, computer and gaming products would represent approximately 22 percent of our sales.
1


Our leading product category positions provide the scale to invest in marketing and product innovation to drive profitable growth. We now expect to grow in mature markets in consumer, technology, and adjacent categories driven by new product development. We will also continue to grow in emerging markets once the impact of COVID-19 subsides in Latin America and parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. In all of our markets, we see opportunities for sales growth through share gains, channel and geographic expansion, and product enhancements.

We generate strong operating cash flow, and will continue to leverage our cost structure through acquisitions, synergies and productivity savings to drive long-term profit and operating cash flow improvement.

ACQUISITIONS
abd-20201231_g1.jpg
Note: Artline® in Australia/N.Z. only

For further information on the acquisitions, see "Note 3. Acquisitions" to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report and "Part II. Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."

Operating Segments

ACCO Brands has three operating business segments based in different geographic regions. Each business segment designs, markets, sources, manufactures, and sells recognized consumer, technology and other end-user demanded branded products used in businesses, schools, and homes. Product designs are tailored to end-user preferences in each geographic region, and where possible, leverage common engineering, design, and sourcing.

2


Our product categories include computer and gaming accessories; storage and organization; notebooks; laminating, shredding, and binding machines; calendars; stapling; punching; dry erase boards; and do-it-yourself tools, among others. Our portfolio includes both globally and regionally recognized brands.

Operating SegmentGeographyPrimary BrandsPrimary Products
ACCO Brands North AmericaUnited States and Canada
Five Star®, Quartet®, AT-A-GLANCE®, GBC®, Swingline®, Kensington®, Mead®, Hilroy® and PowerA®
Computer and gaming accessories, school products, planners, storage and organization (3-ring binders), dry erase boards, laminating, binding, stapling and punching products.
ACCO Brands EMEAEurope, Middle East and Africa
Leitz®, Rapid®, Esselte®, Kensington®, Rexel® GBC®, NOBO®, Derwent® and PowerA®
Storage and organization products (lever-arch binders, sheet protectors, indexes), computer and gaming accessories, stapling, punching, laminating, shredding, do-it-yourself tools, dry erase boards and writing instruments
ACCO Brands InternationalAustralia/N.Z., Latin America and Asia-Pacific
Tilibra®, GBC®, Barrilito®, Foroni®, Marbig®, Kensington®, Artline®*, Wilson Jones®, PowerA®, Quartet®, Spirax® and Rexel®
*Australia/N.Z. only
School notebooks, storage and organization products (binders, sheet protectors and indexes), laminating, shredding, writing and arts products, janitorial supplies, dry erase boards and stapling and punching products
Sales Percentage by Operating Segment202020192018
ACCO Brands North America50 %49 %49 %
ACCO Brands EMEA32 29 31 
ACCO Brands International18 22 20 
100 %100 %100 %

Seasonality

Although we did not experience normal seasonality in 2020 because of disruption from the pandemic, typically each of our segments has demand that varies based on certain seasonal drivers. For North America, the important seasonal selling periods are related to back-to-school and calendar year end. The North America back-to-school season mainly occurs in the second and third quarters with the third quarter also seeing stronger technology product sales. The calendar year end drives significant sales of gaming, technology and dated products. The EMEA segment experiences much less seasonality than the other segments, but the first and fourth quarters are typically stronger, with the second and third impacted by lower demand due to summer vacations. The International segment has strong back-to-school sales in the fourth quarter and into January as Brazil and Australia are in the Southern hemisphere. However, the segment also includes a smaller business in Mexico where back-to-school straddles the second and third quarters.

Our recent acquisition of PowerA and previous acquisitions in Mexico and Brazil have increased the size of our seasonal businesses. As a result of the seasonal nature of the demand for our products, we have generated, and we expect to continue to generate, a significant percentage of our sales and profit during the second, third, and fourth quarters. However, our cash flow seasonality is almost all in the second half of the year, as the cash inflow in the first quarter is consumed in the second quarter as inventory. Our third and fourth quarter cash flow comes from completing the working capital cycle and collecting our accounts receivable.

For further information on the seasonality of net sales, earnings and cash flow, see "Note 20. Quarterly Financial Information (Unaudited)" to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report and "Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources."

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Customers

We distribute our products through a wide variety of retail and commercial channels to ensure that our products are readily and conveniently available for purchase by consumers and other end-users, wherever they prefer to shop. These channels include mass retailers, e-tailers, discount, drug/grocery and variety chains, warehouse clubs, hardware and specialty stores, independent office product dealers, office superstores, wholesalers, contract stationers, and specialist technology businesses. We also sell directly to commercial and consumer end-users through e-commerce sites and our direct sales organization. Changes in consumer buying patterns have resulted in greater purchases of our products through mass retailers and e-tailers, mitigating the impact of lower sales experienced by the traditional office products suppliers and wholesale channels. This change was accelerated in 2020 due to the pandemic. PowerA's sales have approximately 75 percent overlap with our current customers, including major mass merchants and e-commerce companies.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, our top ten customers accounted for 44 percent of net sales. Staples/Essendant accounted for approximately 9 percent and 10 percent of our net sales for the years ended December 31, 2020, and 2019, respectively. Amazon, Walmart, and Target each exceeded 5 percent of our sales in 2020.

Competition

We operate in a highly competitive environment characterized by large, sophisticated customers; low barriers to entry; and competition from a wide range of products and services. ACCO Brands competes with numerous branded consumer products manufacturers, as well as many private label suppliers and importers, including various customers who import their own private label products directly from foreign sources. Examples of branded competitors include Bi-Silque, Blue Sky, CCL Industries, Corsair, Dominion Blueline, Fellowes, Hamelin, Herlitz, Logitech, LSC Communications, Newell Brands, Novus, PDP, Razer, Smead, Spiral Binding, Stanley Black and Decker, Steel Series, and Targus, among others.

The Company meets competitive challenges by creating and maintaining leading brands and differentiated products that deliver superior value, performance, and benefits to consumers. Our products are sold to consumers and end-users through diverse distribution channels that require superior customer service. We further meet consumer needs by developing, producing, and procuring products at a competitive cost, enabling them to be sold at attractive selling prices. We also believe that our experience with successfully managing a complex assortment and large seasonal demands is a competitive advantage. Our strong relationships with technology providers is also a competitive advantage for our computer and video gaming accessories businesses.

Product Development

Our strong commitment to understanding consumers and designing products that fulfill their needs drives our product development strategy, which we believe is, and will continue to be, a key contributor to our success. Our products are developed by our internal research and development team or through partnership initiatives with inventors, vendors and technology providers. Costs related to product development when paid directly by ACCO Brands are included in selling, general and administrative expenses.

We seek opportunities to invest in new products and adjacencies. Our innovation efforts focus on generating new, exciting and differentiated products that support our strategic shift toward a faster growing, more consumer-oriented business. The criteria we use in assessing strategic fit or investment opportunities include: the ability to create strong, differentiated products and brands; the importance of the product category to key customers and consumers; the relationship with existing product lines; the importance to the market; and the actual and potential impact on our sales and operating performance.

Marketing and Demand Generation

We support our brands with a significant investment in targeted marketing, catalogs, digital and social media, advertising, and consumer promotions that increase brand awareness, drive conversion, and highlight the innovation and differentiation of our products. We work with third-party vendors, such as Nielsen, NPD Group, GfK SE, and Kantar Group, to capture and analyze consumer buying habits and product trends. We also use our deep consumer knowledge to develop effective marketing programs, strategies, and merchandising activities.
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Supply

Our products are either manufactured or sourced to ensure that we supply our customers with quality products, innovative solutions, attractive pricing, and convenient customer service. We have built a customer-focused business model with a flexible supply chain to ensure that these factors are appropriately balanced. Using a combination of our own manufacturing and third-party sourcing enables us to reduce costs and effectively manage our production assets by lowering capital investment and working capital requirements. Our overall strategy is to manufacture locally those products that would incur a relatively high freight and/or duty expense or that have high customer service needs. We use third parties to source those products that require higher direct labor to produce. We also look for opportunities to leverage our manufacturing facilities to improve operating efficiencies, as well as customer service. We currently manufacture approximately 40 percent of our products where we operate and source the remaining 60 percent from lower cost countries, primarily China, but increasingly from Vietnam and other Far Eastern countries and Eastern Europe.

Intellectual Property

Our products are marketed under a variety of trademarks. Some of our more significant trademarks include ACCO®, AT-A-GLANCE®, Barrilito®, Derwent®, Esselte®, Five Star®, Foroni®, GBC®, Hilroy®, Kensington®, Leitz®, Marbig®, Mead®, NOBO®, PowerA®, Quartet®, Rapid®, Rexel®, Swingline®, Tilibra®, and Wilson Jones®. We own rights to these trademarks in various countries throughout the world. We protect these marks as appropriate through registrations in the U.S. and other jurisdictions. Depending on the jurisdiction, trademarks are generally valid as long as they are in use or their registrations are properly maintained and they have not been found to have become generic. Registrations of trademarks can generally be renewed indefinitely as long as the trademarks are in use. We also own numerous patents worldwide. Additionally, our PowerA business depends on maintaining our licensing rights with key game console manufacturers and video game publishers.

Human Capital Resources

As the Home of Great Brands Built by Great People, we believe our employees are the key ingredient to our success. In alignment with our Vision, Values and Leadership Promise, we strive to create a great place to work… one that attracts top talent and motivates them to stay and contribute to our winning team. The Company’s strategic plan for Human Resources is focused on fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, developing leadership and talent, and enabling and engaging employees.

As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 6,100 full-time and part-time employees worldwide, with approximately 4,200 employees based outside of the U.S. Approximately 660 employees in our North American business are covered by collective bargaining agreements in certain of our manufacturing and distribution facilities. One of these agreements covering approximately 320 employees, expired in 2020 and is in the process of being re-negotiated. Outside the U.S., we have government-mandated collective bargaining arrangements in certain countries, particularly in Europe. There have been no strikes or material labor disputes at any of our facilities during the past five years.

Diversity and Inclusion

At ACCO Brands, our values include respecting the individual and celebrating diversity. We believe that an equitable and inclusive environment with diverse teams produces more creative solutions, results in improved and more innovative products and services, and is crucial to our efforts to attract and retain key talent. One of ACCO Brands’ goals is to increase the percentage of director-level-and-above female leaders to 33% (40% in North America) by 2025.
Talent Management and Succession Planning

Building and sustaining strong talent is critical to our success. We know that offering the right mix of on-the-job experiences and learning and development will support our goal of building capable and ready talent to lead the Company. Additionally, we invest in our employees by building individual and organizational capabilities that provide relevant learning and development solutions closely linked to business strategies. We deliver Company-required learning to ensure compliance with our Code of Conduct and other important policies. We enhance leadership effectiveness by fostering managers who recognize that people leadership is where they impact the business and their teams. Our “Raising the Bar” leadership development program supports the Company’s mission to have effective leaders at all levels.

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Employee Engagement

An important factor in our ability to deliver sustainable, long-term value and optimize resource utilization is our proactive management of employee engagement and change. We periodically invite employees to give candid feedback about their experiences working for ACCO Brands through an Employee Engagement Survey. Our employees enthusiastically respond at world-class participation rates. We also encourage employees to volunteer their time, efforts, and ideas to create a work culture that reflects their ideals and values. This active engagement of leadership and employees not only drives our workplace culture, it also results in positive business performance.

Employee Health and Safety ("EHS")

We are committed to Mission Zero— pursuing continuous improvement in health and safety within all our locations and to attain our goal of zero accidents and zero incidents. We have implemented our Comprehensive Environmental and Safety Management Plan ("CESMP") as an overall management system for our manufacturing and distribution locations. CESMP audits are completed by our EHS teams to measure the proactive steps each location is taking to prevent injuries.

Community Involvement

We aim to give back to the communities where we live and work. Our corporate values include acting responsibly in our global communities through numerous employee volunteer and outreach initiatives. We encourage our employees to make a difference in our Company and in their communities by building on a fundamental commitment to integrity, teamwork, respect and inclusivity. We support a wide range of charities, the most significant of which is City of Hope in the U.S, which has been ongoing for many years.


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Executive Leadership of the Company

As of February 24, 2021, the executive leadership team of the Company consists of the following executive officers. Ages are as of December 31, 2020.
Mark C. Anderson, age 58
2007 - present, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development
Joined the Company in 2007

Patrick H. Buchenroth, age 54
2017 - present, Executive Vice President and President, ACCO Brands International
2013 - 2017, Senior Vice President and President, Emerging Markets
Joined the Company in 2002

Stephen J. Byers, age 55
2019 - present, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
2008 - 2018, Group Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Tate & Lyle PLC
Joined the Company in 2019

James M. Dudek, Jr., age 49
2020 - present, Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer
2017 – 2020, Vice President and Corporate Controller
2016 - 2017, Chief Accounting Officer, Innerworkings, Inc.
Joined the Company in 2017

Boris Elisman, age 58
2016 - present, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
2013 - 2016, President and Chief Executive Officer
2010 - 2013, President and Chief Operating Officer
2008 - 2010, President, ACCO Brands Americas
2008, President, Global Office Products Group
2004 - 2008, President, Computer Products Group
Joined the Company in 2004

Neal V. Fenwick, age 59
2005 - present, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Joined the Company in 1984

Angela Jones, age 57
2020 – present, Senior Vice President and Global Chief People Officer
2018 – 2020, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, Compass Minerals
2016 – 2018, Rembrandt Foods, Vice President, Human Resources
Joined the Company in 2020

Gregory J. McCormack, age 57
2018 - present, Senior Vice President, Global Products and Operations
2013 - 2018, Senior Vice President, Global Products
Joined the Company in 1996

Cezary L. Monko, age 59
2017 - present, Executive Vice President and President, ACCO Brands EMEA
2014 - 2017, President and Chief Executive Officer, Esselte
Joined the Company in 1992

Pamela R. Schneider, age 61
2012 - present, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
2010 - 2012, General Counsel, Accertify, Inc.
Joined the Company in 2012

Thomas W. Tedford, age 50
2015 - present, Executive Vice President and President, ACCO Brands North America
Joined the Company in 2010
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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

The factors that are discussed below, as well as the matters that are generally set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents incorporated by reference herein, could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition. Additional risks and uncertainties that are not presently known to us or that are not deemed material also may materially adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition in the future.

Economic and Strategic Risks

Our business and results of operations have been and will continue to be materially and adversely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic and others' responses to it, which has also adversely affected our financial condition and liquidity. There is much uncertainty regarding when these negative impacts will cease.

COVID-19 has been declared by the World Health Organization to be a "pandemic" and has spread to many of the countries in which we and our customers, consumers, suppliers and other business partners do business. National, state and local governments in affected regions have implemented and likely will continue to implement or maintain safety precautions, including work from home orders, quarantines, travel restrictions, business and school closures, cancellations of, and limitations on, public gatherings and other measures. Other organizations and individuals have taken additional steps to avoid or reduce infection, including limiting travel, social distancing measures, and working from home. These measures have caused and continue to cause significant disruptions to our normal business operations and have had and are expected to continue to have significant adverse impacts on businesses and financial markets worldwide. Similarly, our business, sales, earnings and results of operations have been and will continue to be materially and adversely affected by these events, as well as by the current and expected continued negative impact on the global economy. We also expect the ongoing uncertainties regarding when the risk of the pandemic will subside and how geographies, distribution channels and consumer behavior will evolve over time to continue to impact us in the future.

During the first quarter of 2020, COVID-19 impacted our Asian supply chain and we experienced some out-of-stocks and lost sales, but we have seen continued improvement since then and had no significant issues in meeting our back-to-school orders in North America. Additionally, a small number of our manufacturing and distribution operations were temporarily closed during the first half of 2020. During the fourth quarter, we experienced further disruption in our supply chain due to a shortage of available ocean shipping containers in China and delays at ports of arrival due to labor shortages and inefficiencies resulting from the impact of COVID-19. These delays also resulted in increased costs. We expect these disruptions to continue for some time and there can be no assurance that there will not be future facilities and supply chain disruptions.

We continue to monitor our operations and government recommendations and have made modifications to our normal operations because of COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of our employees, suppliers and customers. These modifications vary from country to country depending on local conditions and government mandates. While we have taken actions which serve to reduce the possibility of transmission of the virus within our workplace, they do not assure that our employees will not contract the virus or bring it to the workplace. Furthermore, we may be forced to close locations for reasons such as the health of our employees, disruptions in our supply chain or reduced demand, or due to further governmental orders. Were such an event to occur, our operations could be disrupted to varying degrees which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation, financial condition and liquidity.

To address the financial impact of the pandemic on our results of operation, we implemented cost-cutting initiatives, including temporary as well as more permanent structural actions to better align our cost structure with the expected decline in sales. We do not expect the measures taken to date to fully offset the impact of COVID-19 on our sales and results of operations. There can be no assurance that these cost-savings measures, and any additional cost-savings measures we may implement in the future, will be sufficient to offset, in whole or in part, the current and future adverse financial impacts of COVID-19 on our business, results of operation or financial condition. During 2020, we also took advantage of government assistance available to employers in countries outside the U.S. which provided cash benefits to employers for retaining their employees during the pandemic. As the pandemic abates, these government subsidy programs are being reduced or eliminated and there can be no assurance that these programs will continue or that we will continue to meet the criteria to obtain benefits.

Likewise, we are monitoring and managing our working capital, including our accounts receivable and inventory, closely. During 2020, we experienced an increased level of late payments and potential bad debts as our customers dealt with the COVID-19 impacts on their businesses, which resulted in an increase in bad debt reserves. In addition, the steep drop in
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demand has increased the likelihood that certain inventory may become obsolete and resulted in an increase in our reserves for slow moving inventory. We anticipate both of these trends will continue. Should we continue to experience adverse impacts to our working capital, this could negatively impact our cash flow and liquidity.

The extent of the impact of COVID-19 on our business and financial results will also depend on future developments, including the severity, duration and spread of the existing COVID-19 virus and any new variants of COVID-19 within the markets in which we operate, public health measures and other actions taken throughout the world to contain or mitigate the effects of the pandemic, and the availability and distribution of effective vaccines. Further, the breadth and duration of disruption to businesses and schools and the overall impact of the pandemic and its consequences on the global economy, and the related impact on consumer confidence and spending, all of which are highly uncertain and ever-changing, will impact the extent to which COVID-19 affects our business and financial results.

Our North America segment and our operations in Australia, Brazil and Mexico are highly dependent on back-to-school business. The prevalence of remote learning in North America negatively impacted the sell-out of our products during the 2020 back-to-school season and sales in our Brazilian and Mexican businesses were significantly and adversely affected by school closures in those countries. It remains uncertain when many schools in the U.S. and Canada will return to full-time in-person learning and when most schools in Brazil and Mexico will reopen. Further delays in the return to in-person learning or reopening of schools in these geographies or changes in the behaviors of our customers and our consumers could have a material adverse effect on our sales, margins, results of operation and financial condition.

The long-term impact of COVID-19 and its economic consequences on our business will also depend on the effectiveness of the actions we and our customers take to manage our businesses through this uncertain period. The extent to which we and our customers will successfully mitigate the impact of COVID-19, if at all, is presently unclear.

We expect that the pandemic will materially and adversely affect our business, sales and results of operations for some time, but we cannot reasonably estimate its long-term financial impact at this time. We also are uncertain as to the full magnitude the pandemic will have on the Company’s results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, customers, suppliers, industry and employees over the longer term. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we may experience materially adverse impacts on our business due to any resulting economic recession or depression, and changes in the behavior of customers, consumers and other end users, among other factors.

Finally, many of the other risks associated with our business are currently elevated and likely will continue to be elevated as a result of COVID-19.

A limited number of large customers account for a significant percentage of our net sales, and a substantial reduction in sales to, or gross profit from, or a change in competitive position or significant decline in the financial condition of, one or more of these customers could materially adversely impact our business and results of operations.

Our top ten customers accounted for 44 percent and 41 percent, respectively, of our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019. The loss of, or a significant reduction in sales to, or gross profit from, one or more of our top customers, or significant adverse changes to the terms on which we sell our products to one or more of our top customers, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The competitive environment in which our large customers operate is rapidly changing and, even more so in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Office superstores, wholesalers and other traditional office products resellers (especially in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Mexico) face increasing competition, which is driving changes in the relative market shares of our large customers. In response, our large commercial customers, including the office superstores and wholesalers, continue to evolve their businesses by shifting their channel or geographic focus, making changes to their operating models and merchandising strategies and, in many cases, consolidating or divesting unprofitable or unattractive segments of their businesses. We have seen, and expect to continue to see, consolidating activity and business model changes with large customers in the U.S., Europe and Australia. The increased competition, consolidation and business model changes and regular personnel turnover have made, and will continue to make, our business relationships with our large customers more challenging and unpredictable. We expect all of these trends will continue.

In addition, the size, scale and relative competitive market position of these customers give them significant leverage in business negotiations. Given the significance of these customers to our business, lower sales to our large customers (many of
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which historically purchased products with relatively high margins) have, and will continue to have, an adverse impact on our sales, margins and results of operations.

Additionally, increased competition, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a slowing economy in some of our key markets, or changes in consumer buying habits could adversely affect the financial health of one or more of our large customers which, in turn, could have an adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.

Shifts in the channels of distribution for our products have adversely impacted our sales, margins and results of operations and may continue to do so.

Due to the competitive pressures and resulting decline in market share of our traditional commercial customers, including office superstores and wholesalers, as well as the ongoing disruption and uncertainties in these channels (especially in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Mexico) and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the key channels of distribution for our products are changing. As a result, we have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, reduced sales to office superstores and wholesalers. Our ongoing strategy is to transform our business to be more consumer- and brand-centric, product differentiated and geographically diverse. We seek to grow sales and market share in the faster growing mass merchant and e-tailer channels, increase our direct sales to independent dealers, and expand distribution, both organically and through acquisitions, into new and growing channels and geographies and enter new adjacencies, while maintaining strong margins. We may not be successful in executing against this strategy fast enough to offset the declines we are experiencing in the traditional commercial channels, if at all. Additionally, the changes in our customer and product mix which have resulted, and may continue to result, from the shift in sales and market share away from our traditional commercial customers (which have historically purchased products with high margins) into faster growing channels have negatively impacted our margins and are likely to continue to do so. Our inability to successfully manage the shift away from distribution channels which are declining, and profitably grow sales and market share with customers in faster growing channels, could have a material adverse impact on our sales, margins, results of operations, cash flow and financial condition.

Sales of our products may be adversely affected by factors that influence discretionary spending by our customers and consumers during periods of economic uncertainty or weakness.

Our business depends on discretionary spending, and, as a result, our performance is highly dependent on consumer and business confidence and the health of the economies in the countries in which we operate. Discretionary spending and the overall health of the economies in the countries in which we operate is affected by many factors outside of the Company’s control, including general economic conditions, consumer disposable income levels, consumer confidence levels, the availability, cost and level of consumer debt, the costs of basic necessities and other goods, political instability, civil unrest, war or terrorism, public health crises, including the occurrence of contagious diseases or illnesses such as COVID-19, severe weather or natural disasters. Additionally, during periods of economic uncertainty or weakness, we tend to see our reseller customers reduce inventories both to reduce their own working capital investments and because demand for our products decreases as customers and consumers switch to private label and other branded and/or generic products that compete on price and quality, or forgo purchases altogether. Decreases in demand for our products can result in the need to spend more on promotional activities. Overall, adverse changes in economic conditions or sustained periods of economic uncertainty or weakness in one or more of the geographic markets in which we operate, whatever the cause, have negatively affected our historical sales and profitability and, in the future, could have an adverse effect on our sales, business, results of operations, cash flow and financial condition.

The Company has foreign currency translation and transaction exposure that has, and is likely to continue to, materially affect the Company’s sales, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.

Approximately 56 percent of our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2020, were transacted in a currency other than the U.S. dollar. Our primary exposure to local currency movements is in Europe (the Euro, the Swedish krona and the British pound), Brazil, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. We source approximately half of our products from China, Vietnam, and other Far Eastern countries using U.S. dollars.

The fluctuations in the foreign currency rates relative to the U.S. dollar can cause translation, transaction, and other gains and losses, which impact our sales, profitability and cash flow. Generally, the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies negatively impacts the Company’s reported sales and operating margins. Conversely, the weakening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies generally has a positive effect.

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When our cost of goods increases due to a strengthening in the U.S. dollar against the local foreign currency, we seek to raise prices in our foreign markets to recover the lost margin. Due to competitive pressures and the timing of these price increases relative to the changes in the foreign currency exchange rates, it is often difficult to increase prices fast enough to fully offset the cumulative impact of the foreign-exchange-related inflation on our cost of goods sold in these markets. From time to time, we may also use hedging instruments to mitigate transactional exposure to changes in foreign currencies. The effectiveness of our hedges in part depends on our ability to accurately forecast future cash flows, which is particularly difficult during periods of uncertain demand for our products and services and highly volatile exchange rates. Further, hedging activities may only offset a portion, or none, of the material adverse financial effects of unfavorable movements in foreign exchange rates over the limited time the hedges are in place, and we may incur significant losses from hedging activities due to factors such as demand volatility and currency fluctuations.

Currency exchange rates can be volatile especially in times of global, political and economic tension or uncertainty. Additionally, government actions such as currency devaluations, foreign exchange controls, imposition of tariffs or other trade restrictions, and price or profit controls can further negatively impact, and increase the volatility of, foreign currency exchange rates.

Challenges related to the highly competitive business environment in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We operate in a highly competitive environment characterized by large, sophisticated customers; low barriers to entry; and competition from a wide range of products and services (including private label products and electronic and digital products and services that can replace or render certain of our products obsolete). ACCO Brands competes with numerous branded consumer products manufacturers, as well as numerous private label suppliers and importers, including many of our customers who import their own private label products directly from foreign sources. Many of our competitors have strong, sought-after brands. They also have the ability to manufacture products locally at a lower cost or source them from other countries with lower production costs, both of which can give them a competitive advantage in terms of price under certain circumstances. In addition, retail space devoted to our product categories is limited and, as a result of competitive pressures and COVID-19, many of our customers are closing or reducing the size of their retail locations, and diversifying their product offerings further reducing the available retail space devoted to our products.

Our large customers (including office superstores, mass merchants, e-tailers and wholesalers) generally have the scale to develop supply chains that permit them to change their buying patterns, or develop and market their own private label brands that compete with some of our products. We have seen, and expect to continue to see, increased competition from private label brands, including those of our large customers many of whom are sourcing these products from suppliers in China and elsewhere in Asia.

As a result, our business has been, and is likely to continue to be, affected by actions of our customers and competitors to compete more effectively. Any such actions could result in lower sales and margins and adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

Our success depends partially on our ability to continue to develop and market innovative products that meet consumer demands, including price expectations, and to expand into new and adjacent product categories that are experiencing higher growth rates.

Our competitive position depends on our ability to successfully invest in innovation and product development. That success will depend, in part, on our ability to anticipate, develop and market products that appeal to the changing needs and preferences of our consumers. We could focus our efforts and investment on new products that ultimately are not accepted by consumers and other end-users. Likewise, our failure to offer innovative products that meet consumer and other end-user needs and demands could compromise our competitive position and adversely affect our sales, profitability, and results of operation.

Additionally, part of our strategy is to develop new, exciting and differentiated products that support our shift towards a faster growing, more consumer-oriented business. There can be no assurance that we will successfully execute these strategies. If we are unable to successfully increase sales and margins by expanding our product assortment, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

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Growth in emerging geographies may be difficult to achieve and exposes us to financial, operational, regulatory and compliance, and other risks not present, or not as prevalent, in more established markets.

An increasing amount of our sales is derived from emerging markets such as Latin America and parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Moreover, the profitable growth of our business in emerging markets, through both organic investments and acquisitions, is a key element to our long-term growth strategy. In recent years, we have made acquisitions in both Mexico and Brazil and commenced operations in India.

Emerging markets generally involve more financial, operational, regulatory and compliance risks than more mature markets. These risks include currency transfer restrictions, the impact of currency fluctuations, hyperinflation or devaluation, changes in international trade and tax policies and regulations (including import and export restrictions), the lack of well-established or reliable legal systems, corruption, adverse economic conditions, political actions or instability, terrorism, civil unrest, and public health crises. Recently, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more severe in Latin America and the Middle East. As we expand and grow in these markets, we increase our exposure to these risks.

In some cases, emerging markets also have greater political and economic volatility, greater vulnerability to infrastructure and labor disruptions, and are more susceptible to corruption. Further, these emerging markets are generally more remote from our headquarters location and have different cultures which may make it be more difficult to impose corporate standards and procedures and the extraterritorial laws of the U.S. and other jurisdictions, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act and other similar laws. Likewise, our overall cost of doing business increases due to the costs of compliance with complex and numerous laws and regulations. Negative or uncertain political climates and military disruptions in developing and emerging markets could also adversely affect us. Further, weak or corrupt legal systems may affect our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property, contractual and other rights.

If we are unable to successfully expand into emerging markets, profitably grow our existing emerging market businesses, achieve the return on capital we expect as a result of our investments, or effectively manage the risks inherent in our growth strategy in these markets, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Continued declines in the use of certain of our products have and will continue to adversely affect our business.

A number of our products and brands consist of paper-based and related office products. As use of technology-based tools continues to rise worldwide and the nature of work and school evolves in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for traditional paper-based and related office products, such as decorative calendars, planners, envelopes, ring binders, lever arch files and other paper storage and organization products, and mechanical binding equipment, has declined. The impact of tariff and commodity price driven inflation in the U.S. in recent years has resulted in higher pricing (especially for steel, aluminum, and paper-based products) which may, in turn, accelerate the pace of change in consumer preferences for product substitutes. The decline in the overall demand for certain of the products we sell has adversely impacted our business and results of operations, and we expect it will continue to do so.

Our business is subject to risks associated with seasonality, which could materially adversely affect our cash flow, results of operations and financial condition.

Although we did not experience normal seasonality in 2020 because of disruption from the pandemic, typically each of our segments has demand that varies based on certain seasonal drivers. For North America, the important seasonal selling periods are related to back-to-school and calendar year end. The North America back-to-school season mainly occurs in the second and third quarters with the third quarter also seeing stronger technology product sales. The calendar year end drives significant sales of gaming, technology and dated products. The EMEA segment experiences much less seasonality than the other segments, but the first and fourth quarters are typically stronger, with the second and third impacted by lower demand due to summer vacations. The International segment has strong back-to-school sales in the fourth quarter and into January as Brazil and Australia are in the Southern hemisphere. However, the segment also includes a smaller business in Mexico where back-to-school straddles the second and third quarters.

Our recent acquisition of PowerA and previous acquisitions in Mexico and Brazil have increased the size of our seasonal businesses. As a result of the seasonal nature of the demand for our products, we have generated, and we expect to continue to generate, a significant percentage of our sales and profit during the second, third, and fourth quarters. However, our cash flow seasonality is almost all in the second half of the year, as the cash inflow in the first quarter is consumed in the second quarter
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as inventory. Our third and fourth quarter cash flow comes from completing the working capital cycle and collecting our accounts receivable.

If these typical seasonal increases in sales of certain products do not materialize or when sales of these product lines represent a larger overall percentage of our sales or profitability, it could have an outsized impact on our business that would adversely affect our sales, cash flow, results of operations and financial condition.

For further information on the seasonality of net sales, earnings and cash flow, see "Note 20. Quarterly Financial Information (Unaudited)" to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report and "Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources."

The level of investment returns on pension plan assets and the actuarial assumptions used for valuation purposes could affect the Company’s earnings and cash flows in future periods. Changes in government regulations, as well as the significant unfunded liabilities of the U.S. multi-employer pension plan in which we are a participant, could also affect the Company’s pension plan expenses and funding requirements.

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had $320.0 million recorded as pension liabilities in its Consolidated Balance Sheet. Funding obligations are determined by government regulations and are measured each year based on the value of assets and liabilities on a specific date. If the financial markets do not provide the long-term returns that are expected, or discount rates increase the present value of liabilities, the Company could be required to make larger contributions. The markets can be, and recently have been, very volatile, and therefore the Company’s estimate of future contribution requirements can change dramatically in relatively short periods of time. Similarly, changes in interest rates and legislation enacted by governmental authorities can impact the timing and amounts of contribution requirements. An adverse change in the funded status of the plans could significantly increase our required future contributions and adversely impact our liquidity.

We also participate in a multi-employer pension plan for our union employees at our Ogdensburg, New York facility. The plan has reported significant underfunded liabilities and declared itself in critical and declining status. As a result, the trustees of the plan adopted a rehabilitation plan in an effort to forestall insolvency. Our required contributions to this plan could increase due to the shrinking contribution base resulting from the insolvency or withdrawal of other participating employers, the inability or the failure of withdrawing participating employers to pay their withdrawal liability, lower than expected returns on pension fund assets, and other funding deficiencies. In the event that we withdraw from participation in the plan, we will be required to make withdrawal liability payments for a period of 20 years or longer in certain circumstances. The present value of our withdrawal liability payments could be significant and would be recorded as an expense in our Consolidated Statements of Income and as a liability on our Consolidated Balance Sheets in the first year of our withdrawal. See also "Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Critical Accounting Policies - Employee Benefit Plans" and "Note 6. Pension and Other Retiree Benefits" to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report.

Impairment of intangible assets could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

We have approximately $1.8 billion of goodwill and other specifically identifiable intangible assets as of December 31, 2020. Future events may occur that could adversely affect the reported value, or fair value, of our intangible assets that would require impairment charges to our financial results. Such events may include, but are not limited to, strategic decisions made in response to changes in economic and competitive conditions, the impact of the economic environment on our sales and customer base, the unfavorable resolution of litigation, a material adverse change in our relationship with significant customers, or a sustained decline in our stock price. We continue to evaluate the impact of developments from our reporting units to assess whether impairment indicators are present. See also "Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Critical Accounting Policies - Intangible Assets," " - Goodwill" and "Note 10. Goodwill and Identifiable Intangible Assets" to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report.

Our inability to secure, protect and maintain rights to intellectual property could have an adverse impact on our business.

We consider our intellectual property rights, particularly and most notably our trademarks and trade names, but also our patents, trade secrets, trade dress, copyrights, and licensing agreements, to be an important and valuable part of our business. Our failure to obtain or adequately protect our intellectual property rights, or any change in law or other changes that serve to lessen or remove the current legal protections of our intellectual property, may diminish our competitiveness, dilute the value of our brands, cause confusion in the marketplace, and materially impact our sales and profitability.
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Merger and Acquisition Risks

Our strategy is partially based on growth through acquisitions. Failure to properly identify, value and manage acquisitions may materially impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our growth strategy includes continued focus on mergers and acquisitions. We are focused on acquiring companies that are either in our existing product categories or geographic markets, which enhance our ability to compete effectively, or that have the potential to accelerate our growth or our entry into adjacent, more consumer-oriented product categories.

We may not be successful in identifying suitable acquisition opportunities, prevailing against competing potential acquirers, negotiating appropriate acquisition terms, obtaining financing, completing proposed acquisitions, or expanding in new markets or product categories. In addition, an acquisition may not perform as anticipated, be accretive to earnings, or prove to be beneficial to our operations and cash flow. If we fail to effectively identify, value, consummate, or manage any acquired company, we may not realize the potential growth opportunities or achieve the financial results anticipated at the time of its acquisition.

An acquisition could also adversely impact our operating performance or cash flow due to the seasonality of the target's business, the issuance of acquisition-related debt, pre-acquisition assumed liabilities, undisclosed facts about the business, acquisition expense and the amortization of acquired assets or possible future impairments of goodwill or intangible assets associated with the acquisition. To the extent acquisitions increase our exposure to emerging markets, the risks associated with doing business in these markets will increase.

We may face challenges with integrating acquisitions and achieving the financial and other results anticipated at the time of acquisition, including the planned synergies.

We may face challenges in integrating our acquisitions with our existing operations. These challenges may include, among other things: difficulties or delays in integrating or consolidating business activities; challenges with integrating the business cultures; difficulties in retaining key employees and key customers; and difficulties integrating the acquired business's finance, accounting, information technology and other business systems without negatively impacting our internal control over financial reporting and our disclosure controls and procedures.

The process of integrating operations also could cause an interruption of, or loss of momentum in, the activities of one or more of our businesses. Members of our senior management may need to devote considerable amounts of time to the integration process. If our senior management is not able to effectively manage the integration processes, or if any significant business activities are interrupted as a result of the integration process, our business and financial results could suffer.

We generally expect that we will realize synergy cost savings and other financial and operating benefits from our acquisitions. Our success in realizing these synergy savings and other financial and operating benefits, and the timing of this realization, depends on the successful integration of the business operations of the acquired company. We cannot predict with certainty if or when these synergy savings and other benefits will occur, or the extent to which we will be successful.

The integration of any acquisition will involve changes to or implementation of critical information technology systems, modifications to our internal control systems, processes and accounting and financial systems, and the establishment of disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting necessary to meet our obligations as a public company. Failure to successfully complete any of these tasks could adversely affect our internal control over financial reporting, our disclosure controls and procedures and our ability to effectively and timely report our financial results. If we are unable to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner and establish internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures that are effective, our business, results of operation and financial condition, investor, supplier and customer confidence in our reported financial information, the market perception of our Company and/or the trading price of our common stock could be materially and adversely affected.

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Technology and Operational Risks

We rely extensively on information technology systems to operate, transact and otherwise manage our business. Any material failure, inadequacy, or interruption of that technology or its supporting infrastructure could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial conditions.

We rely extensively on our information technology systems, many of which are outsourced to third-party service providers. We depend on these systems and our third-party service providers to effectively manage our business and execute the production, distribution and sale of our products, as well as to manage and report our financial results and run other support functions. Although we have implemented service level agreements and have established monitoring controls, if our third-party service providers fail to perform their obligations in a timely manner or at satisfactory levels, our business could suffer. Additionally, if one or more of our information technology suppliers is unable or unwilling to continue to provide services at acceptable cost due to financial difficulties, insolvency or otherwise, our business could be adversely affected.

Further, our failure to properly maintain and successfully upgrade or replace any of these systems, especially our enterprise resource planning systems (including our warehouse management, logistics and financial systems) so that they operate effectively and mitigate vulnerability to tampering and attacks that could negatively impact our day-to-day operations, could disrupt our business and our ability to service our customers or negatively impact our ability to report our financial results in a timely and accurate manner.

If our day-to-day business operations or our ability to service our customers is negatively impacted by the failure or disruption of our information technology systems, if we are unable to accurately and timely report our financial results, or conclude that we do not have effective internal control over financial reporting and effective disclosure controls and procedures, it could damage our reputation and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Security breaches could compromise our confidential and proprietary information, as well as any personally identifiable information we hold, and expose us to operational and legal risks which could cause our business and reputation to suffer and materially adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We maintain information necessary to conduct our business in digital form stored in data centers and on our networks and with third-party cloud services, including confidential and proprietary information as well as personally identifiable information regarding our customers and employees. Information stored in data centers and on our networks, and with third-party cloud services, is subject to the risk of intrusion, tampering, and theft. Our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee error, malfeasance, or other disruptions.

We maintain systems designed to prevent such intrusion, tampering, and theft. The development and maintenance of these systems is costly and requires ongoing monitoring and updating as technologies change and efforts to overcome security measures continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. Further, we obtain assurances from outsourced service providers regarding the sufficiency of their security procedures to prevent intrusion, tampering and theft and, where appropriate, assess the protections employed by these third parties. The cost and operational consequences of implementing, maintaining and further enhancing cybersecurity protection measures could increase significantly as cybersecurity threats increase.

Despite these efforts, the possibility of intrusion, tampering, and theft cannot be eliminated entirely. We have from time to time experienced cybersecurity breaches, such as "phishing" attacks, business email compromises, employee or insider error, brute force attacks, unauthorized parties gaining access to our information technology systems, and similar incidents. To date these incidents have not had a material impact on our business, but there can be no assurance that future incidents will not have a material impact. The techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target. Additionally, there can be no assurance that the actions we and our outsourced providers take will prevent another breach of, or attack on the information technology systems which support the day-to-day operation of our business or house our confidential, proprietary and personally identifiable information.

Any such intrusion, tampering or theft (and any resulting disclosure or use of confidential, proprietary and personally identifiable information) could compromise our network, the network of a third-party hosting key operating systems or to whom we have disclosed confidential, proprietary or personally identifiable information, a data center where we have stored such information or a third-party cloud service provider. Any of these impacts could result in a disruption to our information technology infrastructure, interruption of our business operations, violation of applicable privacy and other laws or standards, significant legal and financial exposure beyond the scope or limits of any insurance coverage (including legal claims and
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proceedings and regulatory enforcement actions and penalties), increased operating costs associated with remediation activities, and a loss of confidence in our security measures, all of which could harm our reputation with our customers, end-users, employees and other stakeholders and adversely affect our results of operation. Contractual provisions with third parties, including cloud service providers, may limit our ability to recover these losses.

In the event a significant cybersecurity event is detected, we maintain disclosure controls and procedures which are designed to enable us to promptly analyze the impact on our business, respond expediently, appropriately and effectively and repair any damage caused by such incident, as well as consider whether such incident should be disclosed publicly. The Company also employs technology designed to detect potential incidents of intrusion, tampering and theft before they impact the Company and continues to enhance and update these technologies. However, there can be no assurance that we will successfully identify such an incident in a timely manner or at all, and in advance of its impacting the Company, and any such impact could be material.

Additionally, we are an acquisitive organization and the process of integrating the information technology systems of the businesses we acquire is complex and exposes us to additional risk as we might not adequately identify weaknesses in the targets' information technology systems. This could expose us to unexpected liabilities or make our own systems more vulnerable to attack.

Outsourcing the production of certain of our products, our information technology systems and other administrative functions could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We outsource certain manufacturing functions to suppliers in China, Vietnam, other Asia-Pacific countries, and Eastern Europe. Outsourcing of product design and production creates a number of risks, including decreased control over the engineering and manufacturing processes resulting in unforeseen production delays or interruptions, inferior product quality, loss or misappropriation of trade secrets, and other performance issues, which could result in cost overruns, delayed deliveries or shortages. Additionally, we rely on our suppliers to ensure that our products meet our design and product content specifications, and all applicable laws, including product safety, security, labor, and environmental laws. We also expect our suppliers to conform to our and our customers’ and licensors' expectations with respect to product safety, product quality and social responsibility, be responsive to our audits, and otherwise be certified as meeting our and our customers’ supplier codes of conduct. Failure to meet any of these requirements may result in our having to cease doing business with a supplier or cease production at a particular facility. Substitute suppliers might not be available or, if available, might be unwilling or unable to offer products on acceptable terms or in a timely manner. Additionally, failure to meet legal and regulatory requirements (including product safety requirements) or customer or licensor expectations may result in our having to stop selling non-conforming products until the issues are remediated or recall products previously sold. Any of these circumstances could result in unforeseen delays and increased costs and negatively affect our ability to deliver products and services to our customers and damage our reputation and brand equity, all of which could adversely affect our business, sales, results of operations, and financial condition.

Moreover, if one or more of our suppliers is unable or unwilling to continue to provide products of acceptable quality, at acceptable cost or in a timely manner due to financial difficulties, insolvency or otherwise, including as a result of disruptions associated with weak or damaged infrastructures, labor shortages or strikes, political actions or instability, terrorism, civil unrest, and public health crises, including the occurrence of contagious disease and illness such as COVID-19, or if customer demand for our products increases, we may be unable to secure sufficient additional capacity from our current suppliers, or others, in a timely manner or on acceptable terms. Any of these events could result in unforeseen production delays and increased costs and negatively affect our ability to deliver our products to our customers, all of which could adversely affect our business, sales, results of operations, and financial condition.

We also outsource important portions of our information technology infrastructure and systems support to third-party service providers. Outsourcing of information technology services creates risks to our business, which are similar to those created by our product production outsourcing.

In addition, we outsource certain administrative functions, such as payroll processing and benefit plan administration, to third-party service providers and may outsource other functions in the future to achieve cost savings and efficiencies. If the service providers to whom we outsource these functions do not perform effectively, we may not be able to achieve the expected cost savings and may have to incur additional costs to correct errors they make. Depending on the function involved, such errors may lead to business disruption, processing inefficiencies or loss of, or damage, to intellectual property, legal and regulatory exposure, or harm to employee morale.
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Our operating results have been, and may continue to be, adversely affected by changes in cost of products sold, including the cost or availability of raw materials, transportation, labor, and other necessary supplies and services and the cost of finished goods.

Pricing and availability of raw materials, transportation, labor, and other necessary supplies and services used in our business, as well as the cost of finished goods, can be volatile due to numerous factors beyond our control, including general economic conditions, labor costs, production levels, currency exchange rates, and import tariffs as well as overall competitive conditions, including demand and supply. Fluctuations in costs of raw materials, transportation, labor, and finished goods (including the impact of import tariffs) have had a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition, and we expect they will continue to do so.

During the 2020 fourth quarter, we experienced disruption in our supply chain due to a shortage of available ocean shipping containers in China and delays at ports of arrival due to labor shortages and inefficiencies resulting from the impact of COVID-19. These delays also resulted in increased costs. We expect these disruptions to continue for some time and there can be no assurance that there will not be future facilities and supply chain disruptions (including closures) as a result of the pandemic.

We also rely on third-party manufacturers, principally in China and other Far Eastern countries, as a source for many of our finished products. These manufacturers are also affected by changes in the cost or availability of raw materials, transportation, labor, and other necessary supplies and services, which may, in turn, result in an increase in the amount we pay for finished goods.

During periods of rising costs, we manage this volatility through a variety of actions, including targeted advance or periodic purchases, future delivery purchases, long-term contracts, sales price increases and the use of certain derivative instruments. Over the longer term, we have made changes, and in the future may also make additional adjustments, to our supply chain in an effort to mitigate the adverse impact of increasing cost of products sold. There can be no assurance that we will be able to effectively mitigate the impact on our cost of products sold fast enough to preserve our margins, if at all. Additionally, we may lose sales as we seek to offset these cost increases by raising prices to our customers. Conversely, when input costs decline, customer insistence on lower prices will likely result in lower sales prices, absent other mitigating circumstances and, to the extent we have existing inventory, lower margins.

Should one of our large customers or suppliers experience financial difficulties or file for bankruptcy, our cash flows, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

Our customer concentration increases our customer credit risk. If any of our larger customers were to face liquidity issues, become insolvent or file for bankruptcy, we could be adversely impacted due to not only a reduction in future sales but also delays or defaults in the payment of existing accounts receivable balances. Such a result could adversely impact our cash flows, results of operations, and financial condition.

In addition, should one of our suppliers or third-party service providers experience financial difficulties, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Product liability claims, recalls or regulatory actions could materially adversely affect our financial results or harm our reputation or brands.

Claims for losses or injuries purportedly caused by one of our products arise in the ordinary course of our business. In addition to the risk of litigation or regulatory enforcement actions and the associated costs and potential for monetary judgments and penalties, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition, product liability claims or regulatory actions, regardless of merit, could result in negative publicity that could harm our reputation in the marketplace or the value of our consumer brands. We also may be, and, in the past have been, required to recall and discontinue the sale of defective or unsafe products, which has resulted in lost sales and unplanned expenses. Any future recall or quality issue could result in lost sales, adverse publicity, significant expenses, and adversely impact our results of operations or financial position.

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Liquidity, Capital Resources and Capital Allocation Risks

Our existing borrowing arrangements limit our ability to engage in certain activities and require us to dedicate a portion of our cash flow to debt payments. If we are contractually restricted from pursuing activities or transactions that we believe are in our long-term best interests or are unable to meet our obligations under our loan agreements, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

As of December 31, 2020, we had $1,136.6 million of outstanding debt, $755.9 million of which was subject to floating interest rates, which increases our exposure to fluctuations in interest rates.
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The terms of our debt agreements also limit our ability to engage in certain activities and transactions that may be in our and our stockholders' long-term interest. Among other things, the covenants and financial ratios and tests contained in our debt agreements restrict or limit our ability to incur additional indebtedness, grant certain liens on our assets, issue preferred stock or certain disqualified stock, make restricted payments (including dividends and share repurchases), make investments, sell our assets or merge with other companies, and enter into certain transactions with affiliates. We are also required to maintain specified financial ratios under certain circumstances and satisfy financial condition tests. Our ability to comply with these covenants and financial ratios and tests may be affected by events beyond our control, and we may not be able to continue to meet those covenants, ratios and tests.

Our debt service obligations require us to dedicate a portion of our cash flow from operating activities to payments on our indebtedness, which reduces the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, research and product development efforts, potential acquisitions and other general corporate purposes.

Our ability to meet our debt obligations, including our financial covenants, and to refinance our existing indebtedness upon maturity, will depend upon our future operating performance, which will be affected by general economic, financial, competitive, regulatory, business, and other factors. Breach of any of the covenants, ratios, and tests contained in the agreements governing our indebtedness, or our inability to pay interest on, or principal of, our outstanding debt as it becomes due, could result in an event of default, in which case our lenders could declare all amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable. If our lenders accelerate our indebtedness, or we are not able to refinance our debts at maturity, our assets may not be sufficient to repay in full such indebtedness and any other indebtedness that would become due as a result of such acceleration. If we then are unable to obtain replacement financing or any such replacement financing is on terms that are less favorable than the indebtedness being replaced, our liquidity, results of operations, and financial condition would be adversely affected.

Interest rates on our outstanding bank debt are based partly on the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR"). On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. It is unclear if at that time LIBOR will cease to exist or if new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established such that it continues to exist after 2021. Our bank agreement includes provisions relating to LIBOR successor rate procedures if LIBOR becomes unascertainable or is discontinued in the future. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee has proposed that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR") is the rate that represents best practice as an alternative to LIBOR, but there is no guarantee that SOFR will become a widely accepted benchmark in place of LIBOR. The changes related to the LIBOR successor rate procedures are not expected to have a material effect on the Company, but there can be no assurance that we will not suffer increases in interest rates on our bank debt borrowings. The Company is also monitoring similar proposed alternatives to benchmark rates in other countries that may be implemented in the future.

Should any of the risks associated with our indebtedness be realized, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected. See also "Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources" and "Note 4. Long-term Debt and Short-term Borrowings" to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report.

We may not continue to repurchase our common stock pursuant to stock repurchase programs or continue to pay dividends at historic rates or at all.

We have a history of recurring stock repurchase programs and payment of quarterly dividends; however, any determination to continue to pay cash dividends at recent rates or at all, or the continuation of our existing share repurchase program and any additional share repurchase authorizations, is contingent on a variety of factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, business requirements, and our board of directors' continuing determination that such dividends or share repurchases are in the best interests of our stockholders and in compliance with all applicable laws and agreements.
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Under certain circumstances, the terms of our debt agreements limit our ability to return capital to stockholders through stock repurchases, dividends or otherwise. We do not currently anticipate repurchasing shares of our common stock in 2021. There is no assurance that we will continue to make dividend payments or repurchase stock at recent historical levels or at all.

Legal and Regulatory Risks

Changes in U.S. trade policies and regulations, as well as the overall uncertainty surrounding international trade relations, have had, and may continue to have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Changes in U.S. trade policies, including tariffs on imports from China and on steel and aluminum that we use in our U.S. manufacturing operations, have had, and we expect that they will continue to have, an adverse effect on our cost of products sold and margins in our North America segment. Additionally, further changes in U.S. trade policies, including an increase or decrease in import tariffs, could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. In response to these changes, other countries have and may continue to change their own trade policies, including the imposition of tariffs and quotas, which could also adversely affect our business outside the U.S. The tariffs have resulted in an increase in the cost of U.S.-sourced products commensurate with the tariffs.

Our inability to effectively manage the impacts of changing U.S. and foreign trade policies, including increases or decreases in tariffs, could materially adversely impact our sales, margins, results of operations and financial condition.

Negative and unexpected tax consequences could adversely affect our operating results.

We are subjected to income taxes in the U.S. and many other jurisdictions. The future results of our operations could be adversely impacted by changes in our effective tax rate resulting from changes in statutory tax rates, changes in tax laws or treaties, changes in the value of deferred tax assets and liabilities, changes in the earnings mix amongst jurisdictions with different statutory tax rates, changes in the overall levels of earnings, changes in the amount of earnings indefinitely reinvested in certain non-U.S. jurisdictions, the results of tax examinations and audits of previously filed income tax returns, the outcome of adjudicated tax cases, and a continued assessment of our tax positions. We may be subject to tax examinations in the U.S. and by other non-U.S. tax authorities and the likelihood of adverse outcomes is regularly assessed. If an examination or the resolution of a court case results in taxes due that are in excess of those previously accrued, our effective tax rate could increase and could adversely impact our operating results, cash flows and financial condition.

Litigation or legal proceedings could expose us to significant liabilities and damage our reputation.

We are party to various lawsuits and regulatory proceedings, primarily related to alleged patent infringement, as well as other claims incidental to our business. In addition, we may be unaware of third-party claims of intellectual property infringement relating to our technology, brands, or products, and we may face other claims related to business operations. Any litigation regarding patents or other intellectual property could be costly and time-consuming and might require us to pay monetary damages or enter into costly license agreements. We also may be subject to injunctions against development and sale of certain of our products.

It is the opinion of management that (other than the Brazil Tax Assessments described below) the ultimate resolution of currently outstanding matters will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flow. However, there is no assurance that we will ultimately be successful in our defense of any of these matters or that an adverse outcome in any matter will not affect our results of operations, financial condition, or cash flow. Further, future claims, lawsuits and legal proceedings could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, results of operations, and financial condition.

In connection with our May 1, 2012, acquisition of the Mead Consumer and Office Products business, we assumed all of the tax liabilities for the acquired foreign operations including Tilibra Produtos de Papelaria Ltda. ("Tilibra"). In December of 2012, the Federal Revenue Department of the Ministry of Finance of Brazil ("FRD") issued a tax assessment against Tilibra, challenging the tax deduction of goodwill from Tilibra's taxable income for the year 2007 (the "First Assessment"). A second assessment challenging the deduction of goodwill from Tilibra's taxable income for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 was issued by FRD in October 2013 (the "Second Assessment" and together with the First Assessment, the "Brazil Tax Assessments"). Tilibra is disputing both of the Brazil Tax Assessments.

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The final administrative appeal of the Second Assessment was decided against the Company in 2017. In 2018, we decided to appeal this decision to the judicial level. In connection with the judicial challenge, we were required to provide security to guarantee payment of the Second Assessment should we not prevail.

In the third quarter of 2020, the final administrative appeal of the First Assessment was decided against the Company. We have also decided to appeal this decision to the judicial level.

We believe we have meritorious defenses and intend to vigorously contest both of the Brazil Tax Assessments; however, there can be no assurances that we will ultimately prevail. The ultimate outcome will not be determined until the Brazilian tax appeal process is complete, which is expected to take a number of years. If the FRD's initial position is ultimately sustained, payment of the amount assessed would materially and adversely affect our cash flow in the year of settlement.

Because there is no settled legal precedent on which to base a definitive opinion as to whether we will ultimately prevail, we consider the outcome of this dispute to be uncertain. Since it is not more likely than not that we will prevail, in 2012, we recorded a reserve in the amount of $44.5 million (at December 31, 2012 exchange rates) in consideration of this contingency. We will continue to actively monitor administrative and judicial court decisions and evaluate their impact, if any, on our legal assessment of the ultimate outcome of our disputes. In addition, we will continue to accrue interest related to this contingency until such time as the outcome is known or until evidence is presented that we are more likely than not to prevail. At current exchange rates, our accrual through December 31, 2020, including tax, penalties, and interest, is $28.4 million (reported in "Other non-current liabilities").

The risks associated with our failure to comply with laws, rules and regulations and self-regulatory requirements that affect our business, and the costs of compliance, as well as the impact of changes in such laws, could materially adversely affect our business, reputation and results of operations.

Our business is subject to national, state, provincial and/or local laws, rules and regulations, as well as self-regulatory requirements, in numerous countries due to the nature of our operations and the products we sell. This, in turn, affects the way we conduct our business as well as our customers’ expectations and requirements. Among others, laws and self-regulatory requirements in the following significant areas (and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder) affect our business and our current and prospective customers’ expectations:

Laws relating to the discharge and emission of certain materials and waste, and laws establishing standards for their use, disposal, and management;
Laws governing the content of toxic chemicals and materials in the products we sell and laws regulating pesticides and pesticide devices;
Product safety laws;
International trade laws;
Privacy and data security laws;
Self-regulatory requirements regarding the acceptance, processing, storage, and transmission of credit card data;
Laws governing social media, advertising, endorsements, testimonials and sweepstakes;
Anti-bribery and corruption laws;
Anti-money laundering laws; and
Competition laws.

All of these legal frameworks are complex and change frequently. Capital and operating expenses required to establish and maintain compliance with all of these laws, rules and regulations and self-regulatory requirements can be significant, and violations may result in substantial fines, penalties, and civil damages as well as damage to our reputation. Any significant increase in our costs to comply with applicable legal and self-regulatory requirements, or any liability arising from noncompliance could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition as well as damage our reputation.

In addition, as we expand our business into emerging and new markets and into new product categories, we increase the number of legal and self-regulatory requirements with which we are required to comply, which increases the complexity and costs of compliance as well as the risks of noncompliance.

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General Risk Factors

Our success depends on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel.

Our success depends on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel, including executive officers and other key personnel for a diverse, global workforce. We rely to a significant degree on compensating our executive officers and key employees with performance-based incentive awards that pay out only if specified performance goals have been met. To the extent these performance goals are not met and our incentive awards do not pay out, or pay out less than the targeted amount, which has been the case in recent years, it may motivate certain executive officers and key employees to seek other opportunities and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel. The loss of key management personnel or other key employees or our potential inability to attract qualified and diverse personnel may adversely affect our ability to manage our overall operations and successfully implement our business strategy.

Our stock price is volatile.

The market price for our common stock has been volatile historically. Our stock price may be significantly affected by factors, including those described elsewhere in this "Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors," as well as the following:

quarterly fluctuations in our operating results compared with market expectations;
investors' perceptions of the office products industry;
the amounts of stock we repurchase on the open market under our share repurchase program;
the amount and frequency of our dividend payments;
changes in financial estimates by us or securities analysts and recommendations by securities analysts; and
the composition of our stockholders, particularly the presence of "short sellers" or high frequency traders trading in our stock.

Volatility in our stock price could adversely affect our business and financing opportunities and force us to increase our cash compensation to our employees or grant larger stock awards, which could hurt our operating results and reduce the percentage ownership of our existing stockholders.

Circumstances outside our control, including telecommunication failures, labor strikes, power and/or water shortages, acts of God, public health crises, including the occurrence of contagious disease or illness, war, terrorism, and other geopolitical incidents could adversely impact our business, sales, results of operations and financial condition.

A disruption at one of our suppliers' manufacturing facilities, one of our manufacturing or distribution facilities, or elsewhere in our global supply chain (especially in facilities in China, other Asia-Pacific countries and Latin America) due to circumstances outside our control could adversely impact production and our customer deliveries, which may negatively impact our operations and result in increased costs. Such a disruption could occur as a result of any number of events, including but not limited to, major equipment failure, labor stoppages, transportation failures affecting the supply and shipment of materials and finished goods, unavailability of raw materials, severe weather conditions, natural disasters, civil unrest, fire, explosions, public health crises, including the occurrence of contagious disease or illness such as COVID-19, war or terrorism, and disruptions in utility and other services. Any such disruptions could adversely impact our business, sales, results of operations, and financial condition.

Political instability, civil unrest, war or terrorism, public health crises, including the occurrence of contagious diseases or illnesses such as COVID-19, and severe weather or natural disasters may also affect consumer and business confidence and the health of the economies in the countries in which we operate. Overall, adverse changes in economic conditions or sustained periods of economic uncertainty or weakness in one or more of the geographic markets in which we operate, whatever the cause, have negatively affected our historical sales and profitability and, in the future, could have an adverse effect on our sales, business, results of operations, cash flow and financial condition.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.
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ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

We have manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Australia, and maintain distribution centers in the regional markets we service. We lease our corporate and U.S. headquarters in Lake Zurich, Illinois. The following table lists our principal facilities by segment as of December 31, 2020:
LocationFunctional UseOwned/Leased (number of properties)
ACCO Brands North America:
Ontario, CaliforniaDistribution/ManufacturingLeased
Booneville, MississippiDistribution/ManufacturingOwned
Ogdensburg, New YorkDistribution/ManufacturingOwned
Sidney, New YorkDistribution/ManufacturingOwned
Alexandria, Pennsylvania
Distribution/ManufacturingOwned
Mississauga, CanadaDistribution/Manufacturing/OfficeLeased
San Mateo, CaliforniaOfficeLeased
Woodinville, Washington(a)
OfficeLeased
ACCO Brands EMEA:
Sint-Niklass, BelgiumDistribution/ManufacturingLeased
Shanghai, ChinaManufacturingLeased
Lanov, Czech RepublicDistribution/ManufacturingLeased
Aylesbury, EnglandOfficeLeased
Halesowen, EnglandDistributionOwned
Lillyhall, EnglandManufacturingLeased
Uxbridge, EnglandOfficeLeased
Saint-Ame, FranceDistributionOwned
Heilbronn, GermanyDistributionOwned
Stuttgart, GermanyOfficeLeased
Uelzen, GermanyManufacturingOwned
Gorgonzola, ItalyDistribution/ManufacturingLeased
Kozienice, PolandDistribution/ManufacturingOwned
Warsaw, PolandOfficeLeased
Arcos de Valdevez, PortugalManufacturingOwned
Hestra, SwedenDistribution/Manufacturing/OfficeOwned
ACCO Brands International:
Sydney, AustraliaDistribution/Manufacturing/OfficeOwned/Leased (2)
Bauru, BrazilDistribution/Manufacturing/OfficeOwned (2)
Sao Paulo, BrazilDistribution/Manufacturing/OfficeLeased (2)
Hong KongOfficeLeased
Tokyo, JapanOfficeLeased
Lerma, MexicoManufacturing/OfficeOwned
Queretaro, Mexico(b)
Distribution/OfficeLeased
Auckland, New ZealandDistribution/OfficeLeased
Taipei City, TaiwanOfficeLeased
(a) New effective January 2021
(b) Closed January 2021

We believe that the properties are suitable to the respective businesses and have production capacities adequate to meet the needs of our businesses.
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ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are party to various lawsuits and regulatory proceedings, primarily related to alleged patent infringement, as well as other claims incidental to our business. In addition, we may be unaware of third-party claims of intellectual property infringement relating to our technology, brands, or products, and we may face other claims related to business operations. Any litigation regarding patents or other intellectual property could be costly and time-consuming and might require us to pay monetary damages or enter into costly license agreements. We also may be subject to injunctions against development and sale of certain of our products.

It is the opinion of management that (other than the Brazil Tax Assessments) the ultimate resolution of currently outstanding matters will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flow. However, there is no assurance that we will ultimately be successful in our defense of any of these matters or that an adverse outcome in any matter will not affect our results of operations, financial condition, or cash flow. Further, future claims, lawsuits and legal proceedings could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, results of operations, and financial condition. For additional details regarding the Brazil Tax Assessments, see “Note 12 Income Taxes – Brazil Tax Assessments” to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER
PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Common Stock Information

Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") under the symbol "ACCO." As of February 16, 2021, we had approximately 10,075 record holders of our common stock.

Stock Performance Graph

The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock to that of the S&P Office Services and Supplies (SuperCap1500) Index and the Russell 2000 Index assuming an investment of $100 in each from December 31, 2015 through December 31, 2020.
abd-20201231_g2.jpg
Cumulative Total Return
12/31/1512/31/1612/31/1712/31/1812/31/1912/31/20
ACCO Brands Corporation$100.00 $183.03 $171.11 $97.17 $137.90 $129.81 
Russell 2000100.00 121.31 139.08 123.76 155.35 186.36 
S&P Office Services and Supplies
(SuperCap1500)
100.00 107.71 102.05 88.78 108.06 112.80 

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Common Stock Purchases

The following table provides information about our purchases of equity securities during the quarter ended December 31, 2020:
PeriodTotal Number of Shares PurchasedAverage Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plan or Program(1)
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Program(1)
October 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020— $— — $125,045,248 
November 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020— — — 125,045,248 
December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020— — — 125,045,248 
Total— $— — $125,045,248 

(1) On February 14, 2018, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had approved an authorization to repurchase up to $100 million in shares of its common stock. On August 7, 2019, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had approved an authorization to repurchase up to an additional $100 million in shares of its common stock.

During the year ended December 31, 2020, we repurchased $18.9 million of our common stock in the open market.

The number of shares to be purchased, if any, and the timing of purchases will be based on the Company's stock price, leverage ratios, cash balances, general business and market conditions, and other factors, including alternative investment opportunities and working capital needs. The Company may repurchase its shares, from time to time, through a variety of methods, including open-market purchases, privately negotiated transactions and block trades or pursuant to repurchase plans designed to comply with the Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Any stock repurchases will be subject to market conditions, SEC regulations and other considerations, and may be commenced or suspended at any time or from time to time, without prior notice. Accordingly, there is no guarantee as to the number of shares that will be repurchased or the timing of such repurchases.

Dividend Policy

In February 2018, the Company's Board of Directors approved the initiation of a dividend program under which the Company intends to pay a regular quarterly cash dividend. Dividend information for each quarter for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 is summarized below:
202020192018
First quarter$0.065 $0.060 $0.060 
Second quarter0.065 0.060 0.060 
Third quarter0.065 0.060 0.060 
Fourth quarter0.065 0.065 0.060 
Total$0.260 $0.245 $0.240 

The continued declaration and payment of dividends is at the discretion of the Board of Directors and will be dependent upon, among other things, the Company's financial position, results of operations, cash flows and other factors.

Given the borrowings related to our acquisition of PowerA, our near-term use of cash will be to fund our dividend and reduce debt and we currently do not anticipate repurchasing shares of our common stock in 2021. Our long-term strategy remains to deploy cash to fund dividends, reduce debt, make acquisitions and repurchase shares of our common stock.
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ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

SELECTED HISTORICAL FINANCIAL DATA

The following table sets forth our selected consolidated financial data. The selected consolidated financial data as of and for the five fiscal years ended December 31 are derived from our consolidated financial statements. The data should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report.
Year Ended December 31,
(in millions, except per share data)
2020(1)
2019(1)
2018(1)
2017(1)
2016(1)
Income Statement Data:
Net sales$1,655.2 $1,955.7 $1,941.2 $1,948.8 $1,557.1 
Operating income(2) (3)
112.4 196.2 187.0 184.5 159.1 
Interest expense38.8 43.2 41.2 41.1 49.3 
Interest income(1.0)(3.2)(4.4)(5.8)(6.4)
Non-operating pension income(3)
(5.6)(5.5)(9.3)(8.5)(8.2)
Other expense (income), net(4)
1.6 (1.8)1.6 (0.4)1.4 
Net income(5)
62.0 106.8 106.7 131.7 95.5 
Per common share:
Net income(5)
Basic$0.65 $1.07 $1.02 $1.22 $0.89 
Diluted0.65 1.06 1.00 1.19 0.87 
Cash dividends declared per common share0.260 0.245 0.240 — — 
Balance Sheet Data (as of December 31):
Total assets$3,048.7 $2,788.6 $2,786.4 $2,799.1 $2,064.5 
Total debt, net1,131.1 810.4 882.5 932.4 696.2 
Total stockholders’ equity742.7 773.7 789.7 774.1 708.7 
Other Data:
Cash provided by operating activities$119.2 $203.9 $194.8 $204.9 $167.1 
Cash used by investing activities(354.7)(79.6)(71.9)(319.1)(106.4)
Cash provided (used) by financing activities244.7 (163.4)(125.6)142.2 (76.4)

(1)The Company completed the acquisition (the "PowerA Acquisition") of PowerA on December 17, 2020; the results of PowerA are included as of that date. The Company completed the acquisition (the "Foroni Acquisition") of Indústria Gráfica Foroni Ltda. ("Foroni") effective August 1, 2019; the results of Foroni are included as of that date. The Company completed the acquisition (the "GOBA Acquisition") of GOBA Internacional, S.A. de C.V. ("GOBA") on July 2, 2018; the results of GOBA are included as of that date. The Company completed the acquisition (the "Esselte Acquisition") of Esselte Group Holdings AB ("Esselte") on January 31, 2017; the results of Esselte are included as of February 1, 2017. On May 2, 2016, the Company completed the acquisition of Australia Stationery Industries, Inc. (the "PA Acquisition"), which indirectly owned the 50% of the Pelikan Artline joint venture and the issued capital stock of Pelikan Artline Pty Limited (collectively, "Pelikan Artline") that was not already owned by the Company.

(2)Operating income for the years 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016 was impacted by restructuring charges of $10.9 million, $12.0 million, $11.7 million, $21.7 million, and $5.4 million, respectively. Such charges were largely employee severance related, and were principally associated with post-merger integration activities following various acquisitions.

(3)On January 1, 2018, we adopted the accounting standard ASU No. 2017-07, Compensation - Retirement Benefits (Topic 715): Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost. The new standard required presentation of all components of net periodic pension and postretirement benefit (income)/costs, other than service costs, in an income statement line item included in "Non-operating (income)/expense." On this basis, the Company restated its operating income for the years 2017, and 2016, which was reduced $8.5 million and $8.2 million, respectively.

26


(4)Other expense (income), net for the years 2020 and 2019 included income of $1.1 million and $3.3 million, respectively, related to certain Brazilian tax credits. See "Note 19. Commitments and Contingencies - Brazil Tax Credits" to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8. of this report for additional details. Other expense (income), net for the year 2016 included a $28.9 million non-cash gain arising from the Pelikan Artline acquisition due to the revaluation of the previously held equity interest to fair value. Other expense (income), net for the year 2016 was also impacted by incremental charges of $29.9 million related to the refinancing of senior unsecured notes.

(5)In 2017, we recorded a net tax benefit of $25.7 million related to the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "U.S. Tax Act").

SUPPLEMENTAL NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

To supplement our consolidated financial statements presented in accordance wi