Merger & Acquisitions Commentary & Analysis
Australian packaging company Orora stakes out US position in retail display, acquiring The Register Group, ICV Partners buys out SG360° ESOP, Cimpress acquires National Pen, Moore DM buys PS/PS Digital and more.
How is it possible that corporate giants AT&T and Time Warner reach an agreement on the terms of a merger in only two months while many small business owners languish over deals for six months, nine months, or even years?
Today, Cimpress, the parent company of Vistaprint and multiple other Internet printing brands, announced it is acquiring National Pen, a leader in custom writing instruments. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Cimpress CEO Robert Keane to get the inside scoop.
Multi Packaging Solutions in holiday mood, buys gift card printer, OneTouchPoint has the right touch for acquisitions, Novolex bags another one, Fort Dearborn on a roll and more.
Billionaire Pritzker brothers capture ProAmpac, buy Vitex next day, Capital Partners win Outlook Group in secondary buyout, IBS Direct merges with Maestro Media Print Solutions and more.
HP commits to paper-based future, private equity invests in managed print services, ink manufacturers consolidate, Hibbert acquires RedShark, Deluxe promotes promotional products, and more.
DG3, a significant player in the NYC metro, national and international market for commercial and financial printing, has entered another phase of its storied existence of acquisitions, going public, sale of the company, management buyout, return of the founder, sale to private equity and now a secondary sale to private equity and special situation fund Resilience Capital Partners.
Massive global private equity funds move aggressively into the label and related printing segments, marketing services provider Firespring acquires Jacob North and does good, Supremex rolls up US envelope production, the newspaper chess game goes on and more.
It’s no surprise that Lindenmeyr has recently announced that it had acquired Graphic Paper, a paper distribution company based on Long Island, New York. According to The Target Report, there was significant M&A activity in the paper industry during 2015, of which seven transactions involved the acquisition of formerly family-owned distributors of printing papers.
Hi-tech inkjet company Xaar makes inroads into US industrial printing market with acquisition of pad printing company, 4over acquires another trade printer, Nationwide Argosy divests last operating company, newspapers consolidate, corrugated segment is active and more.
Dot-com era company, Internet Brands, with backing from KKR, invests in Fodor’s travel guides and commits to maintain print editions, Transcontinental builds flexible packaging division with third US acquisition, Weyerhaeuser completes next step of exit from paper business, ALJ Regional bolts Color Optics onto portfolio company Phoenix Color and more.
Say what? Mainstream media is reporting that the two are in talks, and all this in the middle of Breaking Up Is Hard to Do for both companies. Xerox responded to an email inquiry early this morning with this: “All we are willing to share at this point is that we don’t comment on market speculation.” Expected. RR Donnelley has always been extremely close to the vest even when the topic is not material, so there wasn’t any point in reaching out there. But we do have our feelers out to see what we can pick up.
CCL Industries’ establishes international niche positions acquiring label printers at a steady pace, Oliver Printing transitions to carton printing and forms platform company for Pfingsten, M&A activity resumes in commercial printing segment, Dex Media files “Chapter 33”, and more.
April 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
March 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
February 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries.
EFI is using both organic growth and acquisitions to get to CEO Guy Gecht’s much publicized goal of reaching $1 billion in revenue this year, and another acquisition was added to the mix this week. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to EFI about how the acquisition of Rialco LLC fits into the mix.
The impact of a negative economic outlook on M&A activity will be to turn the current sellers’ market into a buyers’ market and result in decreased valuations. The situation will cause most owners who might have been considering a sale transaction in the near future to pause and re-examine their strategies.
January 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
In December, Cimpress, the parent company of Vistaprint, announced plans to acquire German web-to-print company WIRmachenDRUCK. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks to CEO Robert Keane to find out more about the company’s strategies and growth plans.
Saugatuck Capital bolts Plymouth Printing onto Pharmaceutic Litho & Label, Rondo-Pak adds Contemporary Graphics to US pharma printing platform, Firespring evolves into MSP, Circle Graphics corrals grand format printer Imagic, the Mittera Group continues traditional printing rollup.
The Box is in Demand - October 2015 Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
The Box is in – paperboard, corrugated, decorated, foil-stamped, bar-coded, laminated, textured, embossed, pearlized, diecut, folded, glued, large and small. Folks in the business of printing love the box. Unlike the box’s troubled cousin, commercial printing, the box is reordered on a regular basis and is far less subject to disruption by online internet-based technologies.
September 2015 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
August 2015 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
July 2015 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries.
Much has been written about what business owners should do to improve the value of their business. So much so, that when it comes to developing a set of priorities to get ready for a sales or other transfer process, uncertainty and confusion reign supreme.
De-evolution for eBooks Platform? – May 2015 M&A Activity, includes commercial printing, packaging, newspapers, and equipment.
March 2015 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries.
Books were ascendant in the printing deal space as RR Donnelley swooped down and snatched Courier Corporation right out of the arms of Courier’s suitor of choice, Quad/Graphics. Almost two and half times larger than Quad, RRD was not about to let this opportunity escape as it did last year when Quad acquired Brown Printing in a sweetheart of a deal.
Paper and packaging industry giant MeadWestvaco appears to be at the end of its life as an independent entity. The company agreed to a merger with RockTenn to form a yet-to-be-named successor company. RockTenn’s expertise in kraft paper, corrugated cartons and retail displays will combine with MeadWestvaco’s strengths in paperboard and folding cartons. The result will be a powerful player in the increasingly global packaging industry, with over $15 billion in annual revenues.
December 2014 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
The Darwinian process of growth, change, merger, and failure proceeded with full vigor during 2014. The 241 transactions announced during 2014 in the printing, packaging, and related industries in the US and Canada represent a 40% increase compared to the 172 transactions that we noted during all of 2013. The vibrancy of the market is consistent with the M&A activity noted across many industries over the past year
Less than a year after swimming with the sharks on the popular TV show Shark Tank in January 2014, husband-and-wife team and printing company owners, Julie and Brian Whiteman, sold their digital photobook app, GrooveBook, to Shutterfly for $14.5 million.
While hard work is always a key ingredient for successful business growth, printers of all sizes are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions as a mechanism to further strengthen their businesses. While growth through acquisition was once considered the domain of large enterprises, companies of all sizes are now discovering that they can gain access to new printing technologies or services by acquiring or merging with another company. This article explores how First Edge Solutions has achieved business expansion through strategic acquisitions and partnerships.
October 2014 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
If You Think Selling Your Business is Like Selling Your House – Guess Again! Part Two: Improving Value
This is part two of a series on the differences between selling a house and selling a business. In part one, we discussed some of the key drivers and the effects that improvements have on home value. In part two, we drill down into the effects that various improvements in a business can have on transaction value.
Part 1 in a two part series on the differences between selling a house and selling a business. In part one, we discuss some of the key drivers and the effects that improvements have on home value. In part two, we drill down into the effects that various improvements in a business can have on transaction value
It’s been a long downhill slide for roll-up activity in the commercial printing industry. The major players have either exited the field (Consolidated Graphics), partially disintegrated (Nationwide Argosy, né Nationwide Graphics), or struggled with their own lack of clear strategic direction (Cenveo, né Mail-Well). That void may soon be filled by regional players that are stretching beyond the boundaries of their original core operation. In contrast to those aforementioned major league teams that were fueled by shares issued in the public markets, the new draft of contenders are energized and coached by private equity funds flush with cash and the ability to borrow at very favorable rates from eager lenders.
Streamworks acquires design and production boutique, Maidstone Capital adds EU Services to its portfolio to join with Com-Pak Services, YGS Group acquires Print Management, Performance POP buys Miramar Designs, RockTenn purchases display division from American Greetings, and more - August M&A transactions and restructurings are posted at The Target Report.
Redefining Print: Joel Quadracci Discusses Quad/Graphics and the View from the Industry’s Front Ranks ()
At the recent PRIMEX East leadership conference by IDEAlliance, Quad/Graphics Chairman, President and CEO Joel Quadracci gave a keynote presentation in which he reviewed the state of the industry, discussed the impact of new technologies, and commented on Quad’s rise to the number two position among all U.S. printing firms.
Forbes achieves stunning price in sale to Asian investment group, Scripps and Journal Communications merge and immediately spin off all their printed publications, commercial printer SG360° buys Lehigh Direct from Visant, and more - July 2014 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
The newest old company, Time Inc., was very busy in June. The venerable publisher of magazines, including household names such as Time, Fortune, People, and Sports Illustrated, was spun off from Time Warner, separating the aging print-centric parent from its progeny’s profitable entertainment and programming businesses.
Digital content platforms attracted financial and strategic buyers last month, as increasingly sophisticated online systems drive information to centralized providers that automate the design, hosting and distribution of content.
There has long been speculation among business owners and their advisors over how to place a value on privately held companies. Now, newly developed business valuation models which replicate historical buyer experience sheds some light on the topic and provides some very interesting insights into value creation opportunities for current business owners and potential buyers.
It was a Tale of Two Cities for sellers of printing companies in April. For some, it’s the best of times; they appear to have chosen wisely, believed in the power of the internet to transform the business of print, they saw the light and felt the hope of spring as they embarked on their journey. The market anoints these fortunate few with the ultimate reward – the high multiple.
The traditional divide between commercial and packaging printers continues to blur as commercial printers seek opportunities in packaging where they can apply their talents, utilize their capital equipment investments, and transition to the packaging industry.
Because they mirror the industry they serve, the printing industry’s two principal trade associations are seeing a picture they may sometimes have trouble recognizing. But, the groups say they have adapted to circumstances, learned from mistakes, and committed themselves to strategies for stability.
So, why would a firm that started life as a check printer and that still focuses primarily on financial institutions spend $1.8B to buy a retail coupon and advertising printer?
Consolidation looks like the obvious play in a shrinking industry space: put two friendly competitors together, eliminate redundant / duplicative activities, pocket the savings and move along happily. Sounds simple and neat. Uh oh.
Pinpointing the characteristics that make some printing companies more economically attractive than others is the short version of the mission of New Direction Partners (NDP), a consultancy specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the graphic communications industry. Some of these earmarks are classic indicators of the health of a business: cash flow, accounts receivable, EBITDA, and so on. Others, however, stem from emerging trends that NDP monitors as M&A influencers for the industry as a whole.
Over the last few days, I've been asked more than a dozen times for my take on RR Donnelley’s pending acquisition of Consolidated Graphics (CGX). Frankly, I have been surprised by the number of people who found the announcement puzzling. And most of the speculation has suggested that it’s purely a defensive move on RRD’s part in the face of declining industry sales volume.
No, that title isn’t a typo. Mergers and acquisitions are getting lots of attention again. That means mine will probably be the most contrarian voice on the subject. Over the past 14 years, I’ve watched 8 different deals up close. So let me apologize in advance: I’m not a fan of mergers or acquisitions. Here’s why..
You’ve placed your company's future into the hands of a self-styled M&A adviser. But do you truly understand what your agent’s qualifications are and where the relationship is going to take you?
Printers are self-reliant by nature. But, the pitfalls of selling a company or buying one without expert assistance should make even the most rugged individualist think twice.
Today, for many printers, “growth” means “growth by acquisition.” In strategizing a deal to buy another company, purchase price is not the first thing to focus on.
Everyone with a printing company to sell dreams of making a deal with full payment in cash at closing. That’s an achievable outcome for some sellers, but not for others. Two case studies provide a helpful dose of realism.
The profitability gap between the best-performing and the weakest printing firms is wider than ever. It reflects the difference between the “haves”—firms with effective strategies for competitive differentiation—and the “have nots,” which lack them.
In one of his first official acts since his election as pontiff, Pope Francis has unveiled a radically new strategy for proselytizing to the world: he’ll carry on the work of St. Peter through an international network of printing companies he intends the Church to acquire.
Although the ink is barely dry on the deal that has made Impika a unit of Xerox, the acquirer believes that bringing its target into the fold will give it the major-player status in inkjet that it has been seeking.
If silence is golden in most of the affairs of life, in M&A transactions, it’s pure platinum. Nothing assures a better outcome for a deal—or yields a worse one if it’s violated—than maintaining a policy of tight information control while negotiations are under way.
Sometimes, sheer embarrassment can kill a merger—the shock of suddenly having to account for issues that ought to have been dealt with earlier in the process. Privately held printing companies can be prone to the kinds of errors that embarrass sellers and thwart M&As.
In real estate, they say, it’s all about location, location, location. In business consulting, the triple crown is perspective, perspective, perspective. The most recent addition to the consulting team at New Direction Partners brings a long and multi-angled view of the printing industry to his new role as an architect of mergers and acquisitions within it.
Frank Steenburgh says one thing his long experience as a business-builder has taught him is that growing revenues and profit will always be more fun and rewarding than cutting costs. Read why.
The web-to-print market is fragmented and hard to determine clear leadership or market share. EFI's acquisition of OPS consolidates the market (slightly). EFI's market share will grow, their product offering will be more comprehensive, and OPS will benefit from EFI's well developed channel partnerships.
Given present trends, the industry could be dominated by a relative handful of firms in a few years. Some companies can grow profitably into this new landscape. Others can make a safe exit before it fully unfolds. Each outcome demands a strategy-now.
A pent-up eagerness for deals makes it all the more important for those venturing back into the M&A marketplace as sellers to be clear about why they should sell—and why buyers should want to acquire them.
It may be possible to run a printing company without a formal plan, but buying or selling a printing company will be very difficult to bring off successfully without the help of a written roadmap. An acquisition plan is a vital navigation aid that guides the process and certifies the desirability of the deal.
WhatTheyThink recently joined other editors and analysts on a media tour to Canon’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. There, we were given a unique opportunity to hear from Canon Chairman & CEO Fujio Mitarai on his “5 Year Plan” strategy that focuses on reforming production and a profitable position in the markets they serve.
Some think that general commercial printing companies aren’t worthy targets for acquisition by other printing firms. That’s a major misperception, say the M&A experts of NDP.
Inking the merger of two printing companies is the formality that signals the beginning of the hard part: implementation. Methodical planning and careful communication can go a long way toward smoothing the transition.
WhatTheyThink profiled Vistaprint in January 2011and the company has made some notable acquisitions since then, so we are taking an updated look at what has been in development. Conclusion? Vistaprint is still charging ahead.
High-Profile Industry Figure in Latest Role: Frank Steenburgh, a.k.a “DocuFrank,” Joins NDP as Partner
It would be impossible to speak for very long about the evolution of digital printing without bringing Frank Steenburgh’s name into the conversation.
A “perfect storm” of change has transformed the printing industry, and every traditional printing operation caught in it faces the same decision: either issue a Mayday and sell the boat, or do nothing and watch the ship sink.
Ever since he founded Geographics in 1976, Norvin Hagan hasn’t tried to purchase another company—until now. Read why he’s ready to complement organic growth with the kind that comes from a well planned and executed acquisition.
Now that the dust has settled a little on the acquisition of AlphaGraphics (AGI) by Blackstreet Capital and CEO Kevin Cushing’s unexpected departure, Art Coley, AlphaGraphics’ Interim President, talks to WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne about the AGI perspective, future prospects and franchisee reaction.
No matter what is happening to other print industry metrics, M&As are trending up. This can be to the advantage of many printing companies seeking growth or a path to staying in operation.
Andy Tribute takes a look at Langley Holdings which recently acquired the manroland sheetfed division.
Technical innovation and customer care are the main ingredients in the recipe for growth at Cathedral Corporation, which now aims to accelerate its expansion with the well-planned acquisition of another printing firm. President and CEO Marianne Gaige describes her objectives in this interview.
On December 7th, HP announced the acquisition of print MIS provider HiFlex. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with HP to understand more about this acquisition and how it fits into the HP portfolio. You may be surprised to learn where the acquisition is reporting within the HP organization.
For Three Firms That Grew by Acquisition, the Art of the Deal Came from the Guidance of Their Professional M&A Advisors
Even experienced fishermen know that there are times when they shouldn’t cast a fly without the help of a fishing guide. A guide knows where the best fishing holes are and how to land the prize fish in them. It’s much the same with mergers and acquisitions in the printing industry. The best catches are made when the principals rely on the skills of deal-savvy M&A advisors.
As everyone knows, the recession has made business financing hard to come by. In this two-part “Cup O Joe,” lenders to the printing industry report that loan products are available and discuss how printers can obtain them.
On August 25th, Seattle-based RPI announced the acquisition of Paro Group BV, based in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The entity in the Netherlands will be known as RPI-Paro to capitalize on Paro branding there. WhatTheyThink spoke with Rick Bellamy, CEO of RPI, and Jan-Paul van den Hurk, owner and CEO of Paro Printing, for more details.
It was announced last week that Platinum Equity had acquired Quark Software Inc. Without an understanding of the digital media market over the past thirty years this may seem just like another investment by a financial investment company. For those of us who have been involved in the major changes that have happened, to us Quark is one of the key companies that had driven the changes in the industry.
As everyone knows, the recession has made business financing hard to come by. In this two-part "Cup O Joe," lenders to the printing industry report that loan products are available and discuss how printers can obtain them.
In July, online printer Mimeo announced the acquisition of UK-based CLE. In this conversation, with CEO Adam Slutsky talks about the reasons for the acquisition, Mimeo's expectations, and hints about future plans.
Rather than building skills internally, firms are aggressively buying expertise to strengthen their offerings and/or add services. Larger firms have begun to purchase smaller organizations that already have made the transition to cross-media. The acquiring firm buys the best practices, expertise, and a book of business, while the acquired firm has access to a larger resource pool. This article highlights some recent examples reflecting this trend.
Some M&A transactions in the printing industry fall apart before they reach the signing stage. Other deals, however, come undone after the ink is dry, and often for reasons that should have been obvious all along. New Direction Partners looks at how to stay out of the latter trap.
M&A transactions sometimes fall through. Poor judgment, misinformation, adverse business developments, and personal antagonisms can drive principals apart despite the mutual advantages of deals that should bring them together. This two-part article examines how and why they fail.
In a recent article I covered the acquisition of part of St Ives Group, one of the largest web offset printing operations in Europe by a competitor, Walstead Investments, to create the largest magazine web offset printer in the UK. Since then there have been significant developments among Walstead’s competitors that are likely to change the structure of magazine printing in Europe. This article covers the latest developments in this market area
A successful M&A transaction is the sum of many carefully fashioned parts. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker delve into the details with comments on how deals can be influenced by client concentration; plant ownership; non-compete agreements with salespeople; acquired management teams; post-acquisition price increases; and personally guaranteed debt.
"What's my company worth to a buyer?" Easy to ask, but not so easy to answer correctly. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker explain the multiple-of-EBITDA formula that's used to determine pricing in many conventional acquisitions. They also discuss asset-based valuation for tuck-ins and note the commission structures that sellers can expect to receive in M&As of this type.
On Friday, March 4th, DG3 North America announced the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of The Ace Group of Manhattan. DG3 touted its ability to expand its Interactive Services group through this acquisition. This interview with Ace Group’s Val DiGiacinto and DG3’s Tom Saggiomo digs deeper into the transaction and what it holds for the future of both firms.
The partners at New Direction Partners join financial management firm Margolis Becker for the monthly Cup O Joe, a conference call with printers on a selected topic. With the help of NDP partners Peter Schaefer and Jim Russell, Cup O Joe tackled the topic “Acquiring A Company from an Owner’s Perspective.” Some excerpts are presented here.
Knowing when to do the deal is probably the trickiest judgment call in any merger of printing companies. Correct timing is a must for both parties, but choosing the right moment to step forward into the M&A marketplace rests with the seller. It’s a decision that calls for introspective as well as strategic thinking.
In the time-honored tradition of ending the present year with resolutions for improvement in the year to come, New Direction Partners offers guidance for print company owners who may find themselves on one side or the other of an M&A transaction in 2011.
New Direction Partners has taken its M&A consulting on the road in a series of presentations. In these briefings, NDP offers an overview of the business climate for mergers and acquisitions, along with practical advice for owners pondering the next step in the life cycles of their companies.
What is your printing company worth? Emotionally speaking, everything. But, owners contemplating the sale of their companies have to answer this tough question in an objective and a financially realistic way. Here are three common approaches to business valuation.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. By now, the economy should have picked up, printers’ prospects should have improved, and the banks should have responded by letting some sunlight into their vaults when borrowers from the industry came calling. What happened? Although the nation’s general banking crisis may be over, says Tom Williams, partner, New Direction Partners, there’s been little improvement in the availability of credit for business and equipment financing.
In Part 1 of this primer on evaluating acquisition targets, Paul Reilly and Peter Schaefer of New Direction Partners reviewed the questions a prospective buyer should ask about the things that make the seller's company productive: its plant, its equipment, and the state of its relations with employees. Their discussion continues with advice for assessing the outcomes of that productivity: the quality of the financial results; the condition of the customer base; and the nature of the relationships that the seller has with its suppliers.
If you’re acquiring a company, you better do your due diligence. But what does that involve? Patrick Henry spoke to two M&A experts to get the lowdown on how to ask the right questions. This is the first of a two part series; this one deals with inspecting the facilities and determining what kind of team you’re inheriting.
When selling out is the best exit strategy for your print company, there’s careful planning that needs to happen from the moment you make your decision. Patrick is joined by Tom Williams and Jim Russell of New Direction Partners, to review the long range preparation that will put you in the best position to make the sale.
Like a weak hand at the card table, a weak offering in the M&A market won’t be improved by the length of time it’s in play. Unlike a poker hand, it can’t be bluffed because the “cards”—the fundamentals of the business—are always in plain sight of the buyer and its due diligence.
Despite the industry's shrinkage, printing companies continue to be born “under the radar screen” as firms win new leases on life by merging with other firms. New Direction Partners foresees an increase in M&A activity as the industry regroups around the strengths of its healthiest and most survivable firms.
MSP Digital Marketing and TecDoc Digital Solutions: The Case History of an M&A Transaction Done Right
When four print industry veterans decided to form a national network of digital services for marketing communications, they knew they would need the help of an M&A expert. Realizing that the digital universe is huge, they understood that locating the right acquisition targets within it was a task they could entrust only to an advisor possessing "industry knowledge, financial acumen, and a great database." Read how MSP Digital Marketing, with the help of New Direction Partners, took a successful first toward building its network with the well-executed acquisition of TecDoc Digital Solutions.
There’s strength in numbers, goes the old adage, but there’s also strength in the power of one—a cumulative strength that printing companies can achieve by undertaking the kind of merger known as a “tuck-in.”
Following Canon’s announcement that it would acquire Océ, WhatTheyThink spoke with a number of sources to get more detail on this significant acquisition and continued sign of industry consolidation. While Canon proposes to purchase Océ at a 70% premium on the stock value, it works out to about 50% of Océ’s annual revenues. The press release is fairly detailed about the terms and conditions.
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