Mergers & Acquisitions

Roger Perron and Pierre Lachapelle, both executives with the Groupe BO Concept large-format printing company in Anjou, Quebec, have acquired the Sign-A-Rama master franchise to cover the province of Quebec.

Perron, who is Co-president of Groupe BO Concept, and Lachapelle, who is the company’s Sales and Marketing Director, have made the acquisition under a new company called Gestion Per-Lac. Perron and Lachapelle will continue in their roles with BO Concept.

There are currently three Sign-A-Rama locations in Quebec and the leaders of Gestion Per-Lac say they plan to expand the network in the province. “This investment, through the newly founded company Gestion Per-Lac, will undoubtedly start off a positive synergy with our franchisees.” stated Perron.

Lachapelle has been appointed as President of Sign-A-Rama Quebec. “Our goal is to share our expertise in signage and point-of-sale advertising with our franchisees to help them maximize profits,” he stated.

Sign-A-Rama is described as one of the largest signage store networks in the world with more than 950 points of sale in over 50 countries.

Schawk Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Lipson Associates Inc. and Laga Inc., better known in the marketplace by the name Brandimage. The deal is expected to close in early October.

Brandimage is described as a branding and design network specializing in brand positioning and strategy, product development and structural design, package design and environmental design. Brandimage, with unaudited 2010 revenues of approximately US$32 million, has operations in Chicago, Cincinnati, Paris, Brussels, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong.

“This transaction will enhance our brand development offering as we continue to implement our strategy of providing both brand development and deployment across multiple mediums serviced and delivered on a global basis,” stated David Schawk, President and CEO.

Founded in 1953, Schawk had annual revenues of US$452.4 million in 2009, and currently runs more than 40 offices around the world, employing over 3,000 people.

Montreal-based Domtar has signed an agreement to acquire Attends Healthcare, manufacturer and supplier of incontinence products for US$315 million. This purchase moves Domtar into a new, growing market space which employs its paper and pulp products.

"This is a good transaction that allows us to take measured steps into the consumer products market in a product area where high single-digit global growth is expected," said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Domtar. "We believe there is the potential to double Attends' earnings within five years and we are committed to unleashing the great organic growth potential. With this acquisition, we will consume internally some of our high quality Lighthouse fluff pulp produced in our nearby Plymouth, North Carolina mill. Domtar will continue to look for innovative ways to build growing businesses based on sustainable wood fiber."

Attends currently operates a 770,000-square-foot facility in North Carolina with nine production lines producing 170 SKUs of products. Attends has approximately 330 employees, annual sales of approximately US$200 million. Michael Fagan, current President and CEO of Attends, will stay on to manage the operations.

Quark today released a letter to its customers stating that it has been purchased by Platinum Equity, a California-based private equity firm. The company had been privately held by the Ebrahimi family since 2000.

"Quark is a legendary brand that helped create the desktop publishing market and is now helping organizations transform how they publish content both to print and digital media," said Brian Wall, partner at Platinum, in a statement. “Quark is committed to its loyal and dedicated user base and we are enthusiastic about the company’s new products, which are gaining traction and generating positive reviews. We believe that with their expertise and innovative software, Quark has the potential to revolutionize publishing again.”

Quark was founded in 1981 by Tim Gill and Mark Pope. Pope left in 1990, selling his shares to the rest of the executives. Fred Ebrahimi joined the company in 1986 as CEO. When Gill departed the company in 2000, he sold his shares to Ebrahimi, placing sole ownership in his hands. Ebrahimi retired in 2006 and passed all of his shares to his children.

Since its founding in 1995, Platinum Equity has closed over 115 deals worth $30 billion in aggregate revenues at the time of closing.

Platinum Equity has already "initiated a process focused on transitioning Quark to new ownership."

 A letter from the CEO

Dear Loyal Customer:

I am writing to share some fantastic news with you: Platinum Equity, a California-based private equity firm, has acquired Quark. This is a substantial step forward in the evolution of our business and one that we have been working toward for some time, because we know that it will provide new benefits to our customers and partners.

This transition comes at an exciting time for our company and our customers. Since I joined in 2006, we have made great strides in helping our customers realize dynamic publishing, have re-invigorated QuarkXPress, and have readied Quark to take an early leadership position in digital publishing.

As a global investment firm, Platinum Equity is well-positioned to help us continue to execute our dynamic publishing vision through their market reach, merger and acquisition experience, and operational support. Just as importantly, the firm shares Quark’s commitment to our customers. This is the natural next step in Quark’s evolution.

On behalf of the entire Quark team, I want to thank you once again for the relationship we have built and for your continued confidence in our capabilities. We look forward to earning that trust each and every day.

Should you have any questions at all, please e-mail us. We hope you’ll share the confidence and excitement that we have for this new chapter for Quark, our customers, and our partners.


Ray Schiavone
Quark President and CEO

EFI's acquisition streak continues as the company announced it has acquired the privately-held Prism Group, based in Australia. Prism is a provider of MIS/ERP software for the printing and packaging industry. The terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

"We are extremely happy to bring Prism into our expanding portfolio of customer-centric technologies. They have built a very impressive list of clients in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa and North America, and we welcome those clients to our large global client base," said Marc Olin, GM of EFI's Software Applications business unit. "In addition, we're very excited to have Prism's employees join EFI and help us expand our rapidly growing global presence with their years of expertise in software for the printing and packaging industries."

"We intend to continue to meet the needs of Prism's existing client base with the same enthusiasm that Prism has for the many years they've been in business while offering them access to the full portfolio of EFI products," continued Olin.

"We are very excited to be joining EFI, the clear leader in the business process automation software space for printing and packaging companies," said Filip Buyse, President and CEO of Prism. "It is a natural fit for our client base and we look forward to introducing them to EFI's portfolio of solutions."

Prism software will become part of EFI's Software Applications (APPS) portfolio. EFI says it intends to integrate support and operations of Prism into the existing APPS organization, which will provide the EFI PrintSmith, EFI Pace, EFI Monarch and EFI Radius software products while continuing to support the existing Prism client base.

Prism is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, with operations in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Prism's customers range from general commercial, web printing, mailing and publication printers, to label printers, packaging companies and converters.

Montreal-based Transcontinental Media has acquired the publishing assets of Groupe Le Canada Français, which employs around 160 staff and collaborators. The purchase includes 11 weekly and monthly printed titles, as well as Web portals that serve the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Granby areas of Quebec.

This includes the Le Canada Français newspaper, which Transcontinental describes as a paid local weekly with the largest circulation in Quebec, as well as Le Richelieu in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Le Coup d'Oeil in Napierville, Le Journal L'Express in Granby, L'Avenir & Des Rivières in Farnham and Le Guide in Cowansville. In all, these printed newspapers have a combined weekly circulation of more than 155,000 copies.

As for Web portals, which combined reach over 30,000 unique visitors per week, Transcontinental Media adds,,, and to its digital-publishing network.

“The Groupe Le Canada Français is a jewel of the weekly press in Quebec, a newspaper institution that shares our goals of excellence and rigour,” said Natalie Larivière, President of Transcontinental Media. “This acquisition fits with our plans for developing our network in Montérégie and enhancing our integrated offering to regional and national advertisers.”

Le Canada Français was founded in 1860.

Eastman Kodak Company announced today that it has enacted a Net Operating Loss Shareholder Rights Agreement which will serve to put a barrier to anybody trying to acquire the company.

Under the terms of the plan, should any investor attempt to buy five or more percent of the company over the next three years (or current investors with five percent attempt to buy more shares), Kodak would issue all current shareholders shares of preferred stock, driving up the cost of the acquisition. In finance, this is known as a "poison pill." This defensive tactic became popularized in the 1980s. In recent years, most companies which have enacted poison pill plans have eventually accepted takeover bids.

The move is seen to be an attempt to block any party who wants to circumvent bidding on Kodak's digital patents, and buy the company outright at under the value of the patents' worth. Kodak announced on July 20 it was investigating possibilities with its digital patents.

Kodak's stock finished trading on Monday at US$2.34 a share, down from nearly $4 a share from a year ago. The company currently has a market capitalization of US$630 million, well under the value of its patents alone. Kodak currently has 18,800 employees.

California-based Electronics For Imaging Inc., announced an agreement to acquire Entrac Technologies, which is a privately held company based in Toronto. With more than 4,000 installations in North America, Entrac develops self-service and payment applications, including technologies for mobile printing. The transaction, with undisclosed financial terms, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011.

“Entrac's self-service products expand the portfolio of products and services we can offer to providers of business services,” said Toby Weiss, GM of EFI’s Fiery business unit and Senior VP of the company. “In addition, the Entrac payment technology offers new possibilities for future EFI products in both our traditional print-for-pay markets as well as the enterprise markets.

“For example, adding EFI's PrintMe cloud printing to existing Entrac products,” continued Weiss, “will make it even easier for customers to begin offering self-service printing to mobile workers, students, guests, and patrons.”

Entrac is to become part of EFI’s Fiery business unit and the company plans to target the technology at range of customers like franchise print shops, office supply retail stores, hotels and hospitality businesses, universities, convention centers, airports, transit stations, museums, libraries and many other locations worldwide.

François Olivier, CEO of Transcontinental Inc., announced plans to acquire seven of Quad/Graphics’ facilities across Canada, while Transcontinental is also divesting its Mexican assets, consisting of three facilities.

It was one year ago, in early July 2010, when Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics’ finalized its purchase of World Color Press, formerly Quebecor World, which held several printing facilities across Canada.

Among the seven Quad/Graphics facilities that Transcontinental is scheduled to pick up, by purchasing all the shares of Quad Graphics Canada Inc., three are in Ontario, two in Quebec and one each in Alberta and Nova Scotia – six printing plants and one pre-media facility. Collectively, these facilities employ 1,500 people and are forecasted to generate approximately US$310 million of revenues in fiscal 2011.

The three Mexican facilities that Transcontinental will drop, consisting of 900 employees, are forecasted to generate $67 million in revenues in fiscal 2011. Transcontinental also plans to transfer its black-and-white book printing business, destined for U.S. export, to Quad/Graphics. This book business represents approximately $25 million in revenues.

“The acquisition of the Canadian assets of Quad/Graphics is in line with our strategy to build on our more traditional print assets and is key to maintain a solid business going forward given the competitive and industry dynamics,” said Transcontinental President and CEO, François Olivier. “It will allow us to leverage the over $700 million in investments we have made to our printing platform over the last several years. These transactions combined will generate at least $40 million in net incremental EBITDA for Transcontinental, over 12 to 24 months following the closure of the transactions.”

The definitive agreement, subject to regulatory clearances, has been approved by the boards of both Transcontinental and Quad/Graphics, and is expected to be finalized in the Fall.

Montreal-based Objectif Lune has entered an agreement to acquire Melbourne, Australia-based PrintSoft as of July 1st. PrintSoft is a provider of enterprise-class document management services, both paper and digital.

"The integration of PrintSoft further supports our mission to revolutionize management of document-driven business processes," said Objectif Lune's CEO, Didier Gombert. "In line with Objectif Lune's expansion strategy, this acquisition is the sixth over the past eight years. It represents another step towards strengthening the company's global presence while growing its solution portfolio in innovative areas such as hybrid mailing and document management systems. PrintSoft is a well respected player in the industry and we are proud to welcome them in the Objectif Lune family. We are honoured to gain prestigious clients such as Australia Post as a result."

"PrintSoft's expertise and capabilities complement the Objectif Lune business, and we are pleased that Objectif Lune intends to preserve and build on the PrintSoft brand into the future. I believe that this is a win/win situation for PrintSoft, Objectif Lune and their respective customers," said Derek Jones, Acting PrintSoft CEO.

PrintSoft was founded in 1989 before being purchased by Australia Post in 2005, with the goal of creating a hybrid mail system which sees mail transmitted digitally around the world before being printed for distribution in certified production centres close to the recipient. The system was installed in over 50 countries. PrintSoft itself has seven offices around the world.

HP today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Printelligent, a provider of Managed Print Services (MPS).

"As a market leader in Managed Print Services, this acquisition puts us even further ahead by strengthening our ability to deliver services and solutions through our channel partners to SMB customers,” said Vyomesh Joshi, Executive Vice President, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. “We’re reinforcing our commitment to our channel partners by bringing them a level of technology and experience that is unprecedented in the industry.”

Upon completion of the acquisition, Printelligent’s assets will be integrated into the LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions unit within the Imaging and Printing Group of HP. The acquisition is expected to close in HP's fiscal third quarter.

“Printelligent built an industry-leading managed print offering over the past 23 years,” said Rob Wellman, Chief Executive Officer of Printelligent. “With HP’s strength, this offering will continue to grow, and channel partners will deliver an unparalleled solution to help customers better manage their print environments.”

Printelligent has been in business since 1988 and has been offering Manged Print Services since 1993. The company is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Xerox Corporation today acquired NewField IT, a U.K.-based print consultancy and software solution provider. This purchase expands Xerox's offerings in Managed Print Services (MPS).

NewField IT's consulting and software services help companies implement MPS more quickly. Its Asset DB software suite creates visual maps of a floor plan to show how assets – like printers and copiers – are used throughout an office. By combining this visual mapping with a database that tracks usage patterns of document devices, workplaces small to large are better able to monitor and manage the use of the devices and their overall print-related costs.
"NewField IT's Asset DB is a user-friendly software, which speeds up some MPS implementations by up to four times. This will accelerate the return on the MPS investment for all our clients, helping boost business growth as they reinvest the costs savings into other areas of the business," said Stephen Cronin, President, Global Document Outsourcing, Xerox Corporation.  
NewField IT will operate as a wholly-owned Xerox subsidiary. Co-founders Robert Newry and James Duckenfield will continue to jointly lead the company, with Newry reporting directly to Cronin. NewField IT will maintain its name and keep its headquarters in Twickenham, U.K., and its U.S. operations in Philadelphia.

Glacier Media announced it has entered into an agreement with Rogers Publishing to purchase a portfolio of 15 media assets from Rogers' business and professional publishing group.

Titles covered in this agreement include:

Canadian Contractor
Canadian Manufacturing Online
Canadian Metalworking
Canadian Packaging
Canadian Plant / Plant West
Canadian Plastics
Design Engineering
Food in Canada
Fraser's Directory
Hardware Merchandising
Le Bulletin des agriculteurs
Purchasing B2B
Materials, Management & Distribution (MM&D)
Meetings & Incentive Travel

Notably, Rogers retains ownership of Marketing group, which includes Marketing magazine and CARD Online. Rogers also keeps its medical, financial and legal publications. The deal is expected to close this week, on May 27th.

Glacier Media's Trade Information group produces a wide range of trade publications covering trades from real estate to farming. Since 1999, the company has grown its offerings through numerous acquisitions, mainly in the West Coast and the Prairies.

Germany-based GMG GmbH enters deeper into the large-format-printing market following its acquisition of Aurelon, based in The Netherlands, which develops production workflow – colour management, raster image processing or output to PDF technologies – for producing desktop colour proofs, large-format images or packaging work.

“In addition to constantly increasing market share in our traditional proofing and press room markets, it is our goal to also become a major player in the growing large-format print production market,” said Paul Willems, CEO of GMG GmbH. “The acquisition of Aurelon is an important step in this direction and immediately allows us to offer A-to-Z production workflow solutions which fulfill the specific needs of large-format printers.

“As applications in the market and for service providers are getting more sophisticated and brand owners are raising their demands for color quality and consistency, now is the right time for GMG to step up its presence in this market,” added Willems. “Until now these key needs have not been entirely met by currently available production workflow systems.”

The Aurelon purchase follows GMG’s February 2011 acquisition of a UK-based media production company called Complete Workflow Solutions (CWS), which serves as a reseller and integrator for Dalim Software workflow and Xinet asset management solutions.

With the May 2 departure of Gerry Heinz, Operations Manager, Pacific Bindery Services is now under the full ownership of Brad Clement, who has helped lead the finishing giant for the past 12 years.

Heinz spent 32 years with Pacific Bindery, founded 39 years ago, which included a co-ownership position in the Vancouver-based company. With the departure of Heinz, Larry Worfolk assumes the role of Operations Manager at Pacific Bindery.

Worfolk most recently held the position of Customer Service Manager with Pacific, while also serving as Acting Operations Manager during several months of 2010. Worfolk also previously owned his own printing business.

Pacific Bindery now operates out of a 45,000-square-foot facility with 50 employees. The company is a perennial winner within the award competition hosted by the North American-based Binding Industries Association. Overall, Pacific Bindery has won 35 awards over the past eight years.

Clement, who also serves as Controller and CFO with Pacific Bindery, has been part owner of Pacific Bindery for the past 12 years. Kris Bovay, who joined Pacific Bindery in 2002, remains General Manager of the company.

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