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Blackford Capital’s Michigan Prosperity Fund Acquires Dickinson Press

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

130-Year-Old Book Manufacturing and Digital Printing Company Poised to Enter New Markets

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – Blackford Capital, a national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., today announced its investment in Dickinson Press, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company and, leading full service book manufacturer and printing services provider. The transaction is the fifth by Blackford’s Michigan Prosperity Fund, which invests exclusively in Michigan companies to generate best-in-class equity returns and support the Michigan economy.

Founded in 1884, Dickinson Press features a wide variety of printing capabilities and print services including lithographic and digital printing, perfect and case binding, and warehousing and fulfillment services. Dickinson maintains an established presence in the niche religious printing segment and its ability to print on thin, lightweight paper sets the company apart and provides a unique customer base across the country.

“Dickinson is a trusted partner to the world’s most renowned religious publishing companies, and the company has a presence in other market segments such as media groups, financial and manufacturing businesses and education,” said Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital. “Increased growth through add-on acquisitions as well as penetration in these markets will be a focus for the sales team moving forward, as well as expansion efforts focused on other adjacent segments such as automotive, healthcare and higher education that are designed to diversify the Company’s client base.” 

Today, Dickinson operates out of a 120,000-square-foot facility and employs 120 people in the West Michigan area.  Currently, the company produces various books and printed materials including bibles, dictionaries, reference books, novels, children's books, and a variety of other printed literature for the religious, business and education markets. Dickinson’s management team will remain in place with Ray Sevin continuing his role as President and CEO.

“We’re very pleased to join forces with the Blackford Capital team. After 130 years of successful business operations, we’re looking forward to broader opportunities and the benefit of leveraging additional operational expertise for our employees, customers and partners,” said Sevin. ”With the Midwest representing roughly 50 percent of the U.S. print market, Dickinson provides convenient access to many of the top customers and suppliers in the industry. Blackford has the right resources and talent to bring our business to the next level of performance.”

The Michigan Prosperity Fund, created in 2012, invests in Michigan companies to generate best-in-class equity returns, and also supports the Michigan economy by protecting and creating jobs locally.  Fenton-based Burgaflex, Grand Rapids-based Custom Profile, Inc., Metro Detroit-based Mopec, and Grand Haven-based Grand Transformers, Inc. are the other four companies currently in the fund.

Investment banking firm New Direction Partners represented Dickinson Press in the sale and will be partnering with Blackford and Dickinson Press moving forward as the company aggressively pursues add-on acquisitions.


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