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Bowne Sells Document Outsourcing Business to Williams Lea

Press release from the issuing company

NEW YORK, Oct. 8 -- Bowne & Co., Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Bowne Business Solutions (BBS) to Williams Lea, the leading European independent business process outsourcing specialist. Excluded from the transaction are Bowne's litigation services business, DecisionQuest, Digital Litigation Solutions and JFS Litigator's Notebook. Williams Lea will pay Bowne $180 million in cash consideration in the transaction. Bowne Business Solutions, with more than 250 clients and 3,000 employees, is a leading provider of outsourcing services to investment banks and law firms. "Over the last several years, the BBS team has created an exceptional outsourcing business," said Philip E. Kucera, Bowne's Interim Chief Executive Officer, "However, following an in-depth analysis, we concluded that BBS was not at the core of Bowne's business. We found no significant synergies with our other business segments and concluded that a sale of BBS was in the best interest of our shareholders. While BBS has been a positive contributor to Bowne's bottom line, this transaction unlocks value for our shareholders and allows us to sharpen our focus on our core business." Tim Griffiths, Williams Lea's Group Chief Executive, said, "We have enjoyed a successful joint venture with Bowne since 1996 and this acquisition is a logical step in meeting the demands of our respective customers. BBS has an excellent reputation for the quality of its services and our knowledge of their business should facilitate a smooth transition during the coming months. This transaction enables us to improve our clients' organizational performance by ensuring the delivery of the right information, to the right person, at the right time -- wherever required. The North American market is the largest in the world and offers an outstanding growth opportunity for Williams Lea." David J. Shea, Bowne's President, said, "Throughout our eight-year relationship with Williams Lea, our respective businesses have grown dramatically. This combination will create a truly international company with global capabilities serving investment banks, law firms and other multinational corporations, while offering exciting new opportunities for BBS employees." Plans for the proceeds from the sale are being discussed with the Board. Alternatives under review include: reinvestment in the core businesses (including strategic acquisitions), the retirement of debt, share repurchases or other general corporate purposes. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in November. Goldman, Sachs & Co. served as the financial advisor to Bowne.