BOPI President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Mercier and his Illinois Graphics, Inc. counterpart Michael Dolan announced today that agreement has been reached to merge the operations of the two companies.
The merger is expected to be completed by June 1. The resulting enterprise will be known as BOPI and will operate out of its current facility at 1705 S. Veterans Parkway, Bloomington. Specific terms of the merger were not disclosed.
The merger will strengthen BOPI’s position as a leading provider of business communications to clients throughout Illinois and national clientele of the firms. Founded in 1947 as Bloomington Offset Process, Inc. engaged in commercial printing, BOPI has established itself in the direct marketing field through initiatives in variable data digital printing, personalized direct mail, data services, web based commerce, collateral management and fulfillment.
"We see this as a tremendous opportunity in a difficult economy to increase market share and open up new opportunities for our innovative marketing products and services," said Mercier, who recently completed a year as president of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the board of directors of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Assn. Having also served for 12 years through 2009 on the board of the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the country's leading trade organization for the graphic arts industry, Mercier is well aware of the challenges facing print oriented businesses today and the need to diversify. NAPL provided consultative services in the transaction.
"The printing sector of our economy is facing diminished demand for its traditional products," he said. "Growth today will be realized through mergers and acquisitions until supply and demand are better equalized in the market. Introducing marketing based services such as variable print, personalized URLs (PURLS) and data based services has allowed BOPI to become a strategic business partner with our customers rather than just a supplier.
"Illinois Graphics is a well respected company and has been a tough competitor over the years. We believe we can provide a seamless transition for its customers and provide an enhanced, single source for all their business communication needs."
Illinois Graphics was founded in 1970 when Pantagraph Printing and Stationery Company acquired McKnight Publishing Company’s production operations at 810 IAA Drive, Bloomington, and has since been operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Dolan has served as president and CEO of both Illinois Graphics and Pantagraph Printing and Stationery, 217 W. Jefferson, Bloomington, and will not join BOPI as a result of the transaction. He will remain at the helm of Pantagraph Printing and Stationery, and that company will retain ownership of the Illinois Graphics facilities. Plans for those assets are undetermined at this time.
“Merging the operations of the two companies provides the best possible result for the loyal clients of Illinois Graphics as well as our employees,” Dolan noted. “We have had a long standing, friendly, yet competitive, relationship with BOPI. They have expanded into the marketing services realm with several new initiatives which will provide additional value to our customers and opportunity for our employees.
“I came to a point in my career where managing two companies was becoming increasingly difficult, yet I was looking for a way in which to secure a solid future for what we have built at Illinois Graphics over the past 40 years. This association makes good sense for all concerned.”
BOPI currently has 49 employees, while Illinois Graphics employs 37.