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BOPI, Illinois Graphics to merge operations

Press release from the issuing company

Paramus, N.J. – Tom Mercier, President and Chief Executive Officer of BOPI, Bloomington, Ill., and Michael Dolan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Illinois Graphics, also of Bloomington, 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 operate out of BOPI's existing facility at 1705 South Veterans Parkway. Specific terms were not disclosed. The NAPL Business Advisory Team, led by Senior Vice Presidents John Hyde and Tim Fischer, provided consultative services to BOPI in the transaction, including business valuation, preparation of terms sheets to facilitate negotiations, and assistance in completing due diligence.

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., a commercial printing operation, BOPI has also 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. "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 a single source for all their business communication needs."

Mercier, who recently completed a year as President of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, and served on the Board of NAPL from 1997 to 2009, is well aware of the challenges facing print oriented businesses today and the need to diversify.

"The printing sector of our economy is facing diminished demand for its traditional products," said Mercier. "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 was founded in 1970 when Pantagraph Printing and Stationery of Bloomington acquired McKnight Publishing Company's Bloomington production facility at 810 IAA Drive, 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, 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 longstanding friendly, yet competitive, relationship with BOPI. They have expanded into the marketing services realm with several new initiatives that will provide additional value to our customers and opportunity for our employees." Illinois Graphics currently has 39 employees; BOPI employs 49.

"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," he continued. "This association makes sense for all concerned."

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