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RockTenn Acquires NPG to Expand Retail Innovation and Solutions

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Press release from the issuing company

NORCROSS, GA - RockTenn has acquired NPG Inc., (NPG), a leading independent merchandising displays company. Headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, NPG provides a broad range of display products and services to many of the world’s most recognized retailers. NPG employs approximately 400 co-workers and operates two manufacturing facilities in Chattanooga and one in Las Vegas.

“NPG’s focus on retailers, their innovative retail solutions and large-format printing capability expands our customer base and significantly improves RockTenn’s ability to provide retail insights, innovation and connectivity to all of our customers,” said Craig Gunckel, executive vice president, RockTenn, and general manager, RockTenn Merchandising Displays.

NPG, known for its unwavering commitment to quality, creative excellence and customer satisfaction, will operate as RockTenn Retail Solutions. Phil Harris, formerly CEO of NPG, has been named vice president and general manager, RockTenn Retail Solutions. Harris will continue to manage the operations along with his current leadership team.

“NPG is a strong strategic fit for us that will strengthen our display business,” said Steve Voorhees, RockTenn’s CEO.  “I am excited to have the NPG team join RockTenn and look forward supporting their continued success.”



By Wayne Peterson on Jan 07, 2014

This is an interesting and semi-important deal in the POS/POP space, and a significant curiosity. This deal hit my radar on December 20, and the Rock - Tenn Retail Solutions website was already referencing the 2013 acquisition of NPG. But no announcement had been made. Perhaps someone pulled the trigger on website content prematurely. Two and a half weeks later, a very brief press release is issued by Rock - Tenn today. Odd.

I contacted two Rock - Tenn executives, asking about the acquisition and asking to be copied when the formal announcement was made. Didn't receive the courtesy of a reply, nor a copy of the press release. Odd.

Nothing about this deal appears to be more than a "tuck-in." There's no evident strategic gain. And the relationship between "Retail Solutions" and "Merchandising Displays" appears confusing at the outset. It seems likely that customers will react in kind. Odd.

This doesn't have the evident flavor of a long-considered, well-planned, and well-executed strategic acquisition. So it will be interesting to see what emerges over the next twelve months. One senses a second shoe waiting to drop. Odd.


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