August 28, 2007 - Last Thursday, X-Rite, a leading provider of color solutions for measuring, formulating, matching, and simulating color, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Pantone, Inc. for $180 million. The deal is expected to close in the fall of 2007 and will result in Pantone becoming a new business unit within X-Rite. Current Pantone leaders will continue to play key roles in the organization, according to the press release. One of the objectives of the deal was to deepen X-Rite's range of offerings by adding Pantone's color standards to its leadership position in hardware, software and services solutions.
"Pantone, Inc. and X-Rite have a long established relationship as successful, strategic business partners," said Richard Herbert, president of Pantone. "Pantone is known for the PANTONE Brand and our commitment to innovation and quality in developing and marketing color communication standards, inspirational design tools and color management solutions. These values and core competencies will be enhanced by X-Rite’s research and development expertise, engineering strength and global distribution infrastructure. As a combined company, we look forward to creating exciting new products and business solutions, providing greater value for our customers worldwide."
One of the objectives of the deal was to deepen X-Rite's range of offerings by adding Pantone's color standards to its leadership position in hardware, software and services solutions.
Pantone’s VP of Marketing, Doris Brown, added, “I have always talked about the power of technology, branding and marketing together, and bringing vision, values and solutions to customers. This is a shared value between our two companies.”
According to Jim Summers, President of GMG Americas, an X-Rite partner, “This is another example of consolidation in our industry. But it is an area where neither company has much in terms of competition, especially following X-Rite’s acquisition of Gretag. You have a company primarily focused on color measurement acquiring one focused on color specification and appearance in hard copy, inks and colorants. I see it as a logical joining of two different ends of the same spectrum.” Summers points out that Pantone has done a tremendous job of brand building, saying, “Kudos to Pantone. They are really the McDonald’s of color specification. X-Rite will help give them scale, and perhaps some of the more quantitative aspects of color will move further upstream to color specifiers and designers, allowing better handoff of color throughout the entire graphics production process.”
Pantone has done a great job of expanding its reach, especially into different markets, with its paint, textile and fashion offerings. Its huey and hueyPRO monitor calibration devices have been a tremendous success and have led the company into new channels including Apple Stores.
EFI’s President Fred Rosenzweig, who partners with both companies, echoed similar thoughts. He said, “Both companies are all about color management, so it makes a lot of sense. X-Rite did a good job of the Gretag acquisition, but with Pantone will need to be sensitive to the standardization that Pantone represents.” He added, “In the 1990’s, it was exciting and easy to be a small company. That is simply not the case today, especially for software companies. Scale and size matter. You have to have enough scale to get to profitability, size to expand geographically and a broad enough portfolio to make it easy for customers as they look to simplify and streamline their operations. That can be hard to do as a small company. X-Rite management is certainly taking action to increase its footprint."
That being said, Pantone has done a great job of expanding its reach, especially into different markets, with its paint, textile and fashion offerings. Its huey and hueyPRO monitor calibration devices have been a tremendous success and have led the company into new channels including Apple Stores. And we understand the company is poised to make yet another significant announcement at Graph Expo, which we will be reporting as it happens.
Pantone is literally a household name in our industry, and we will all be looking to X-Rite to continue that heritage!