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Investment Banking Group Offers Buy-Side M&A Advisory Expertise in Consumer Products Sector

RALEIGH, N.C. – Feb. 4, 2009 – RBC Bank (USA)’s Investment Banking Group was the exclusive financial advisor in structuring the successful acquisition of Russ Berrie and Company, Inc.’s Gift Division (“Russ Gifts”) by its client The Encore Group, Inc. (“Encore”). Encore, with offices in San Diego, Calif., and Winston-Salem, N.C., is an industry-leading consumer products company engaged in the design, manufacturing and marketing of licensed gift products, collectibles, home décor items and other specialty gift products across the United States. The two companies will combine into one world-wide holding company named “The Russ Companies, Inc.,” which will have operating subsidiaries in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China and Korea.

“The acquisition represents the best aspects of an industry consolidation - Russ Gifts’ strengths are as a leader in plush gift items while Encore is a leader in hard goods, in particular in the sports, ceramics, frames, spiritual and garden segments. The two companies’ product portfolios are highly complimentary rather than duplicative”, said Encore’s Chairman Eldridge “Redge” Hanes. “Despite unforeseen headwinds, RBC Investment Banking worked tirelessly to assist us in securing acquisition financing through one of the most difficult economic environments since the Great Depression”.

“The transaction provides a unique opportunity to realize exciting synergies while leveraging core competencies and unlocking economies of scale,” said Hanes. “Russ Gifts has been widely regarded as the premier company in the gift industry due to its market dominance in high-quality gift products, as well as its creative product design, broad distribution network and commitment to customer service.”

Hanes also noted that, “Historically, Encore’s product sales have been limited to the United States. The transaction provides us with a global platform and will allow us to leverage Russ Gifts’ international sales force and distribution network to drive sales in untapped markets around the world.”

RBC Investment Banking’s Managing Director and Group Head, D. Ryan Tyler, noted that “this deal brought to bear some of the best business combination and deal-making skills across the spectrum of participants. Executing acquisition financing has seldom been more difficult. Needless to say we are very pleased.”

Given the investment banking group’s expertise in the consumer products industry, it continues to actively seek middle-market consumer and retail investment banking mandates throughout the Southern United States. RBC Investment Banking works with middle-market companies to assess and execute strategic mandates associated with growth opportunities, buy-side and sell-side mergers and acquisitions, unlocking stockholder value, exit strategies and shareholder liquidity. RBC Investment Banking is a division of RBC Bancorporation (USA), which offers a wide range of financial services and advise and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBC (NYSE: RY).

About RBC Bank
RBC Bank, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., offers a wide range of financial services and advice to individuals, businesses and public institutions throughout the Southeast. RBC Bank’s network includes more than 430 full-service banking centers, an extensive ATM network and telephone and online banking. RBC Bank is the 40th largest U.S. bank by consolidated assets, according to the Federal Reserve Statistical Release June 30, 2008. RBC Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) (RY on the TSX and NYSE), Canada's largest and most stable bank as measured by assets and market capitalization. Global Finance Magazine named RBC the best bank in Canada in October 2008, and the safest bank in Canada for 10 consecutive years, from 1999-2008. RBC is also one of the world’s financial, social and environmental corporate leaders for the past eight years as on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Additional information about RBC Bank may e found at
For more information:
Dorsey Landis
RBC Bank/(919) 788-6272