Commentary & Analysis
View into the Future of Printing Process Control - March 2017 M&A Activity
Danaher adds Advanced Vision Technology to Pantone and X-Rite platform, Ripon acquires Maquoketa, Vomela goes commercial, private equity backs outsourcing packaging to China, and more
By Mark R. Hahn
Published: April 10, 2017
Science and technology-based conglomerate Danaher, with multiple portfolio companies in growth segments such as dental products, life sciences, medical diagnostics, and environmental testing, added to its roster of printing process control companies with the acquisition of Israel-based Advanced Vision Technology (AVT). The acquired company designs and manufactures sophisticated quality inspection, color measurement, and printing process control devices that replace traditional craft-based methods. AVT will join Danaher’s Product Identification Platform, which includes color inspection technology company X-Rite, packaging workflow company Esko, color-standard authority Pantone, coding and marking systems Videojet, and digital asset management solution MediaBeacon. Known for its disciplined approach to acquisitions, Danaher is clearly betting that print is not dead, rather print’s future is technology-driven and controlled to maximize quality and minimize waste. In the words of Danaher’s CEO, the company’s acquisitions are strategically focused “with a clear eye towards ensuring long-term sustainable positions in attractive markets around the world.” Printers take heart…
Commercial Printing – Diversified Services
Ripon Printers, located in the town of the same name in Wisconsin and proficient in the production and distribution of catalogs, direct mail, and publications, acquired Iowa-based Maquoketa Web Printing.* The acquired company specializes in long-run multi-page multi-color coldset web printing of catalogs and similar products, also one of Ripon’s specialties. All production will be “tucked-in” to the Ripon facility which also offers heatset web, sheetfed offset, and digital printing capabilities, as well as digital communication services.
The Vomela Companies, a national printing rollup with niche specialties in vehicle wraps, super-grand format printing, event signage, in-store retail display, and RV vehicle decoration, among other unique offerings, is somewhat surprisingly heading once again into the more generalized commercial printing segment. Vomela, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and with more than 20 locations from British Columbia to New York City, announced the acquisition of Elk Grove Graphics, a commercial printer in Elk Grove, Illinois. Vomela owns one other commercial printing company, Virginia-based Master Print, acquired in 2014. Unlike Master Print, Elk Grove Graphics will operate as a unit of Vomela’s C2 Imaging division which primarily offers an array of wide format products.
Vista Equity Partners, a global investment firm with headquarters in Austin, Texas, acquired check printer D+H, based on Toronto, in a deal valued at approximately $4.8 billion. Vista plans to combine D+H with its existing portfolio company, UK-based Misys, creating a diversified provider of software and support services. The merged entity will serve banking and financial service companies in over 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banking institutions. D+H was founded in 1875 as Davis & Henderson, a Canadian printing and bookbinding company which eventually focused on printing for financial institutions. In the 1960’s, the company began printing checks with magnetic inks which became its core business. In 2005, D+H strategically began to acquire technology companies to serve its financial clients. With approximately one third of its revenue still deriving from the check printing business, it’s a storyline and timeline very similar to Deluxe Corporation’s evolution, as featured in in our report last month (see The Target Report – February 2017).
Toppan Vite, the New York financial printing division of the giant Japanese printing company Toppan, announced the acquisition of Vintage, a division of PR Newswire. Formerly called Vintage Filings, the acquired company provides financial compliance services and will compliment Toppan Vite’s existing print-centric business.
EQT Partners, a global private equity investment firm headquartered in Sweden, acquired a co-controlling stake in GPA Global, a packaging design and outsourcing company based in Shenzen, China. With offices on both coasts of the US, and in Ireland and Greece, the company manufactures high-end packaging at its facility in Shenzen and with production partners in China.
In a similar strategy, managing the supply chain and outsourcing high-end packaging production to China, Eureka Growth Capital is backing Jansy Packaging which the fund acquired in November 2014 (see The Target Report – November 2014). Eureka recently bolted California-based Cogent Partners onto the Jansy platform.
Continuing its pattern of non-stop acquisitions in the packaging segment, and not waiting for the completion of its purchase by WestRock, Multi Packaging Solutions acquired label printer Paris Art Label Company, located on Long Island, New York.
* Graphic Arts Advisors, publisher of The Target Report, served as exclusive advisors to Maquoketa Web Printing in this transaction.