Joint Venture Will Help Vistaprint Gain Local Presence in Japan and Will Expand Plaza Create Product Offering
VENLO, the Netherlands & TOKYO - Vistaprint N.V., a leading online provider of professional marketing products and services to micro businesses and the home, and Plaza Create Co., Ltd., a leading Japanese retailer of photo products, announced the companies have entered into a definitive agreement to form a joint venture in Japan. The venture should strengthen both companies’ ability to serve Japanese customers through the combination of Vistaprint’s technology, manufacturing expertise and e-commerce experience with Plaza Create’s reputation for customer service and quality products, its knowledge of the Japanese market and its network of more than 600 retail outlets throughout the country.
Currently Plaza Create primarily services the home and family market. Its core offering includes photo prints, cameras, accessories and cloud-based photo storage services. But there are over 10 million self-employed people and small businesses in Japan and the joint venture will offer a broad array of home and family and small business marketing products both online and at Plaza Create’s retail stores.
“Vistaprint has built a strong initial base of business in Japan over the past few years, despite serving the market remotely,” said Robert Keane, president and chief executive officer of Vistaprint. “However we believe we must strengthen our commitment to Japan by building a strong domestic presence. We are excited to partner with Plaza Create to help achieve our mutual goals. Its stores are well known and trusted by consumers throughout Japan and we believe forming a joint venture will benefit the key constituents of both companies over the long term.”
Each company will contribute its Japanese online business to the joint venture, and products will also be available on computer kiosks within Plaza Create’s Palette Plaza and 55 Station stores throughout Japan. Upon the closing of the transaction, Robert Keane will serve as the joint venture’s chairman and a representative director, and Yasuhiro Oshima, president of Plaza Create, will serve as the joint venture’s president and a representative director.
“We are pleased to form this partnership with Vistaprint,” said Mr. Oshima. “The combination of our product offerings and unique skill sets will create a broad and compelling value proposition for both Japanese consumers and small businesses. Taking advantage of the relative strengths of our online and offline channels, we can offer comprehensive printing services with a high level of convenience, customer service and trust. Many of our customers are small business owners and Vistaprint is renowned for bringing innovative products to market at affordable prices. We look forward to enabling more small businesses in Japan to promote their business in a professional and affordable way, and to expanding and growing our customer value proposition through our joint venture.”
Subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, Vistaprint and Plaza Create will each invest approximately $5 million USD (500 million JPY) to form the new joint venture. In addition, Vistaprint will become a Plaza Create minority shareholder through the purchase of approximately $5 million USD of Plaza Create shares. The transaction is expected to be completed in February, 2014, at which point Vistaprint would become a 51% owner of the joint venture and Plaza Create would be a 49% owner. Vistaprint does not expect this transaction to have a material financial impact in fiscal 2014. Over time, we expect to jointly build a production facility in Japan in order to fulfill orders and better meet local delivery needs for our customers.