Mergers & Acquisitions
Sun Chemical and its parent company, DIC Corporation, have acquired Gwent Electronic Materials Ltd., a manufacturer of conductive inks, pastes and powders for the printed electronic market.
 
With the acquisition of the United Kingdom-based company, Sun Chemical states Gwent’s European-based production sites will enhance Sun Chemical’s global conductive ink, paste and powder manufacturing capabilities while allowing further penetration into developing markets.

Gwent Electronic Materials was founded in 1988. Its products are manufactured directly for individual customers and are tailored to suit specific processes of manufacturing plants. Sun Chemical explains Gwent Electronic Materials’ strengths include being a major world supplier of pastes and other ancillary materials for the bio-sensor and biotechnology markets. Additionally, other major targets are automotive and display products.

“The addition of Gwent’s diverse advanced electronic materials and tailor-made technologies will further expand Sun Chemical and DIC’s solutions portfolio for printed electronics globally,” said Mehran Yazdani, President of Sun Chemical Advanced Materials. “Sun Chemical has experienced tremendous growth in the global printed electronics market and this acquisition will help us expand into this strategic market and enable us to better serve our customers.”
 
Headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, Sun Chemical is a producer of printing inks, coatings and supplies, pigments, polymers, liquid compounds, solid compounds, and application materials. Together with DIC, Sun Chemical has annual sales of more than US$7.5 billion and over 20,000 employees around the world.
St. Joseph Communications has finalized an agreement to acquire Bassett Direct, which has long served as of Canada’s most advanced providers of direct marketing services and variable printing programs.
 
“We are thrilled to welcome Bassett Direct’s strong industry reputation, talent, knowledge and 22 years of experience to the St. Joseph organization,” said John Gagliano, President of St. Joseph’s Print Group. “Targeted, personalized direct marketing stands out as a powerful component in today’s marketing mix for brands to leave lasting, tactile reminders with their customers. We look forward to deepening our direct mail offerings with our customers and likewise, are excited to help Bassett Direct’s customers tap into St. Joseph’s interconnected solutions across all mediums.”

Rich Bassett founded Bassett Direct in 1994 and became one of North America’s leading figures in personalized printing and direct marketing programs. He is a recipient of the Canadian Marketing Association’s (CMA) Lifetime Achievement Award. With a focus on high-impact and personalized direct marketing campaigns, Bassett Direct produces oversized and multi-panel largest, self-mailers, pop-ups and custom formats. Clients include many of Canada’s leading financial institutions, advertising agencies, not-for-profit organizations and loyalty companies.
 
“We are extremely excited about joining the St. Joseph Communications family,” said Rich Bassett, President of Bassett Direct. “There is a strong fit between the two organizations and I am confident that our customers and employees will benefit greatly from an innovative printer that is also part of an integrated communications company.”
 
Driven from its Toronto Print Campus – the largest of its kind in Canada – and a network of cross-country print centres, St. Joseph’s annual output includes more than 200 million catalogues and magazines, and one billion flyers.
Cansel in late-September acquired the engineering bond paper converting operations and business in Eastern Canada (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador & Nunavut) of Unisource Canada, Inc., a Veritiv company.  

“This acquisition is a significant one for Cansel that further enhances our already comprehensive portfolio,” said Stephen Fletcher, Vice President, Cansel.  “It aligns with our strategy to position Cansel as a market leader in eastern Canada by expanding our converting business in the region.”

Veritiv stated the sale of its engineering bond paper converting operations is inline with the company’s direction to focus on core commercial and wide-format printing sectors in Canada.
HP Inc. reached a definitive agreement to acquire Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.’s printer business in a deal valued at US$1.05 billion. HP states the acquisition positions it to disrupt and reinvent the US$55 billion copier industry. This is the largest print acquisition in HP’s history.

The company explains copiers are outdated, complicated machines with dozens of replaceable parts requiring inefficient service and maintenance agreements. Samsung, according to HP, has built a formidable portfolio of A3 MFPs and some with as few as seven replaceable parts.

HP plans to integrate Samsung’s printer business’ products, it their mobile-first and cloud-first user experience, with its own next-generation PageWide technologies.

“When we became a separate company just 10 months ago, it enabled us to become nimble and focus on accelerating growth and reinventing industries,” said Dion Weisler, President and CEO of HP. “We are doing this with 3D printing and the disruption of the US$12 trillion traditional manufacturing industry, and now we are going after the US$55 billion copier space. The acquisition of Samsung’s printer business allows us to deliver print innovation and create entirely new business opportunities with far better efficiency, security, and economics for customers.”

Samsung’s printer business also brings an intellectual property portfolio of more than 6,500 printing patents and a workforce that includes nearly 1,300 researchers and engineers with advanced expertise in laser printer technology, imaging electronics, and printer supplies and accessories to support continued innovation in print market solutions.

“HP Inc. has been a valued partner and customer of Samsung,” said Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. “We can now leverage our combined capacity for innovation to further enhance the value of our relationship."

The acquisition is expected to be accretive in the first full year following closing, with cost synergies and a strong financial model. The transaction is expected to close within 12 months pending regulatory review and other customary closing conditions. After closing, Samsung has agreed to make a US$100 million to US$300 million equity investment in HP through open market purchases.
Access Labels of Amherst, Nova Scotia, has acquired the pressure-sensitive label manufacturing division of Farnell Packaging of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Access Labels explains the acquisition, which has been in the works for six months, will allow both companies to continue to grow and focus on their core business.

“We thank Farnell for choosing to partner with us and wish them luck as they move forward to concentrate on their Polyethylene business,” said Robert Sams, General Sales Manager of Access Labels. “We will be working closely with them during this transition, as well as moving forward. Farnell has a long-standing tradition of providing a high level of quality service, and we welcome their customers to our family.”

The purchase will increase the capacity at the Access Labels facility by between 20 to 30 percent. This also means the addition of several new full-time jobs in Amherst.

“In choosing to partner with Access Labels for this transition, we believe that we are consolidating our label business with the most reputable and responsive competitor in the region,” said Bill Morash, CFO of Farnell Packaging Ltd.  “We have every confidence that Access Labels will do their very best to professionally service and supply all pressure-sensitive label needs in the months and years ahead.”

This transition will be completed by the end of October. There will be no job losses at Farnell, according to the companies, as the workers who were employed in the sold division will move into other divisions of the company.

“We do not expect any interruption in service for any customers as we increase the capacity at our Amherst facility in order to provide all customers with the excellent service that they have come to know and look forward to,” said Sams. “We are excited to move forward with delivering top quality service and products to even more great clients.”

Founded by Paul Carr in 1993, Access Labels specializes in printing labels, as well as selling and servicing equipment including label dispensers, applicators, and thermal printers.
Supremex Inc., headquartered in LaSalle, Quebec, expands its presence in the United States with the purchase of assets of Bowers Envelope Company Inc. Supremex is a North American manufacturer of stock and custom envelopes, in addition to providing packaging and specialty products, with facilities across seven Canadian provinces and three facilities in the United States – employing approximately 700 people.

Bowers Envelope is a manufacturer and printer of envelopes based in Indianapolis, Indiana. "This acquisition, while relatively small, aligns with our strategy to extend our reach in key markets and to expand our value added offering in packaging and specialty products," said Stewart Emerson, President and CEO of Supremex. "Bowers Envelope is a well-known brand strategically located less than 300 kilometres from Chicago… in a robust envelope market and a major hub for e-commerce distribution.”

Founded in 1928, Bowers Envelope Company Inc. employs approximately 50 people at its 75,000-square-foot Indiana facility. In 2015, Bowers generated approximately US$8.5 million in revenues from the sale of stock and custom envelopes. Mike Daniel, Bowers’ current General Manager, will continue to lead the local operation.

"We believe our cross-country Canadian operations, our Massachusetts, New York and now midwest facilities' capabilities and scale, allows us to be a bona fide regional player in the U.S. Market,” said Emerson. “With the addition of Bowers Envelope, Supremex is now well-positioned to serve approximately 60 percent of the U.S. envelope market.”
Sun Chemical moved to acquire Flint Group’s publication gravure ink business in Europe, which would include the transfer of all products. Completion of the sale is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the competition authorities.

“Sun Chemical remains committed to all its publication businesses,” said Felipe Mellado, Chief Marketing Officer and board member at Sun Chemical. “The acquisition of Flint Group’s publication gravure ink business reaffirms our commitment to this sector and will enable us to further strengthen and enhance the performance of our own publication gravure plants.”

Sun Chemical, a member of the DIC group, is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, and produces printing inks, coatings and supplies, pigments, polymers, liquid compounds, solid compounds, and application materials. Together with DIC, Sun Chemical has annual sales of more than US$7.5 billion and over 20,000 employees around the world.
Advocate Printing and Publishing Company, headquartered in Pictou, Nova Scotia, has acquired most of Transcontinental Inc.’s Dartmouth-based commercial printing business, including associated assets, sales force, and the client-services team. The purchase also provides the opportunity for Advocate to service Transcontinental’s current Atlantic Canadian commercial printing clients serviced by the Dartmouth facility.

Advocate will not assume ownership of Transcontinental Inc.’s national clients, newspaper publishing and newspaper printing, or retail flyer printing business.

“We are excited to welcome new members to the growing Advocate family and provide the best client service, printing and creative options in Atlantic Canada,” said Sean Murray, President and CEO of Advocate Printing. “Our focus now is bringing the benefits of our expanded team and capabilities to our new and existing client base.”

Advocate explains the incoming sales and client-service team will remain in Dartmouth at Advocate’s office in Burnside. Several production team members will be offered positions at the company’s Pictou and Bridgewater facilities.

 “This acquisition strengthens our position as Atlantic Canada’s leader in commercial printing and is another positive step in the continued growth and evolution of our business,” said Murray. “The move allows us to grow and service our customer base through existing Nova Scotia facilities in Pictou, Bridgewater and our New Brunswick facilities in Dieppe and St. Stephen.”  

The majority of the new production will be transferred to Advocate’s flagship printing facility in Pictou with some production going to Bridgewater, the latter of which focuses on short- and medium-run printing. Other equipment will be moved to Advocate’s Dieppe and St. Stephen facilities where the company focuses on what it describes as entrepreneurial print and administrative printing.

Founded in 1891, Advocate Printing & Publishing is described as the largest independent printer in Atlantic Canada. The company services clients throughout the Atlantic Provinces, the eastern seaboard and across Canada through printing facilities in Pictou, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia; Dieppe, New Brunswick and St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The print business includes production of a range of work from national flyers, magazines and direct mail to brochures, business cards, and promotional materials.

Additionally, Advocate publishes 10 newspapers, 21 trade and regional magazines, a flyer distribution organization, and operates commercial photography, creative design and digital services operations.
Planet Paper Group, a family owned company with three locations across Canada, acquired Tricor POP of Cleveland, Ohio. Planet Paper CEO Jason Berns describes the purchase as a game-changer for the company: “Overnight this gives us a major presence for all of our business segments in the Midwest and Northeast, and soon the other parts of the U.S., giving us a full national footprint,” he said. “This is a huge step for everyone at Planet Group. It makes us North American in every way.”

In addition to expanding its services into the United States, Planet Paper explains the acquisition also enhances its end-to-end display, packaging and merchandizing offerings. The family-owned business, with more than 300 employees, will operate as Planet Display & Packaging Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Leveraging the Planet Groups' excellent design capabilities and implementing their proven manufacturing best practices will provide our customers with exceptional display and packaging solutions and provide our employees and business partners significant opportunities for growth," said Dave Ticchione, General Manager, Planet Display and Packaging Inc.

Both Planet Paper and Tricor – focusing on packaging, point of purchase display and retail signage– serve retailers and consumer packaged goods customers in pharmaceuticals, health and beauty, electronics, stationaries, food, beverage, consumer product, household and personal care segments.

Planet Paper Box is the company’s primary sheet plant in Concord, Ont., accounting for 150,000 square feet, which has supplied corrugated cartons and sheets to a variety of businesses since 1963.
Xaar plc, a longstanding developer of industrial inkjet technology, has acquired Engineered Printing Solutions (EPS), a provider of product printing equipment in North America. The acquisition is Xaar's first as part of the company's strategic vision to achieve £220m of annual sales by 2020.

EPS, founded by Julian Joffe in 1985, has built its business through supplying customized and bespoke printing solutions for a variety of market sectors including promotional, packaging, medical, automotive, apparel, appliances, sports equipment and toys. One of its focuses has been to develop flexible and cost effective digital inkjet solutions. In 2015, EPS generated $14m of revenue and today employs 60 staff.

“The product printing market is served by multiple print processes today and the fastest growing is inkjet,” said Doug Edwards, CEO of Xaar.  “Here, just as with other industry sectors, there is great potential to accelerate the adoption of inkjet. EPS has established a successful business and is well positioned to continue to grow. Xaar gains a strong customer base and footprint in North America, a region Xaar has been targeting for growth. The integration capabilities EPS brings to Xaar will enable us to provide greater support to our existing and new OEM partners.”
North American printing industry associations Idealliance and Epicomm today completed their merger, creating an entity that will now address both management and technology issues. Idealliance is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, and has more than 3,000 members in the United States and within International Affiliates in China, South Korea, India, and Mexico.

“Stakeholders in today’s industry operate in a highly competitive, high-technology field that requires a superior level of technical expertise and management acumen,” said Idealliance President and Chief Executive Officer David Steinhardt. “Consumers are digesting content in new ways, requiring buyers of print and digital communications to meet an ever-evolving demand for orchestrated content across a variety of print substrates and digital media.”
 
Idealliance explains its resources are segmented within six primary service areas, including: Best practices and working groups, certification and training, advocacy and advancement, strategy and consulting, education and events, and publications and research.
 
Steinhardt continues to explain Idealliance will serve as a united voice for the graphic and digital communications industries, from content creators and brand managers to marketers, printers, mailers, and fulfillment experts.

Idealliance will continue core programs and services in research and trends analysis, including the annual State of the Industry Report; strategic business development consulting; and industry standards defining color, digital, mail, and media workflow, including G7, GRACoL, Mail.dat, PRISM, and SWOP.
TC Transcontinental Inc. of Montreal continues its growth in packaging with a third acquisition, Robbie Manufacturing, a flexible packaging supplier located in Lenexa, Kansas. Transcontinental’s first strategic acquisition in the flexible packaging sector was Capri Packaging in 2014. In 2015, the company doubled its revenues in this area by purchasing Ultra Flex Packaging Corp.

Newly purchased Robbie Manufacturing specializes in on-site packaging needs for grocery stores, shrink wrap packaging of multipack consumer goods, and packaging solutions for food processors. With more than 175 employees, the generated US$50 million in annual revenues in its most recent fiscal year.

“This acquisition is great news for the ongoing development of our flexible packaging division, an important area of growth for the corporation," said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. "The acquisition of Robbie Manufacturing is strategic on two fronts. It allows us to enter into two new packaging niches while also creating opportunities for synergies with our existing facilities nearby.”

Robbie Manufacturing was founded in 1970 by Bernard Robinson and his son Irv, and had just six employees focusing on perforated film to wrap produce.

“It's a privilege for Robbie Manufacturing and the entire team to join the ranks of TC Transcontinental, a solid, well-established family-controlled corporation led by seasoned leaders and driven by a vision for the future," said Irv Robinson, CEO of Robbie Manufacturing.

TC Transcontinental has close to 8,000 employees in Canada and the United States, and generated revenues of $2.0 billion in 2015.

Electronics For Imaging Inc. of Freemont, California, has purchased Optitex Ltd., a developer of integrated 3D design software aimed at the textile industry's digital transformation – for the adoption of so-called fast fashion. Privately-held Optitex is to be integrated into EFI’s Productivity Software business unit.

EFI explains the maximum purchase price of Optitex is approximately US$52.8 million, which includes a US$20 million upfront cash payment, US $3 million of which was placed into escrow, and annual cash earnout payments over three one-year periods of up to an additional US$32.8 million in total.  

Payment of each tranche of the earnout is contingent upon the achievement of annual profitability and growth targets, EFI explains, with the revenue targets in the three earnout periods exceeding US$73 million in the aggregate in order to achieve the full earnout payment. EFI explains the acquisition is not expected to be material to its Q2 results and the purchase is expected to contribute US$4 million to US$6 million in revenue for the balance of 2016 and be neutral to EPS during that time.

"We are thrilled to add the Optitex team and its fast-growing base of industry-leading customers to the EFI family," said Gabriel Matsliach, Senior VP and GM, EFI Productivity Software. "Optitex technology, combined with EFI Reggiani digital printers, will expand our textile ecosystem and help our customers set new standards for time-to-market, on-demand manufacturing, cost efficiency and automation in the textile industry."

Asaf Landau, CEO of Optitex, and approximately 100 members of the company have joined EFI, with Landau serving as EFI Optitex's General Manager. Optitex has offices in the U.S., Italy, India, Hong Kong and Israel.
Transcontinental Inc. is divesting its assets in the province of Saskatchewan in a transaction that includes the sale of its 13 local newspapers and associated Web properties.

The asset sale to Star News Publishing Inc., a local newspaper publisher and printer with interests in Saskatchewan and Alberta, includes some commercial printing equipment and related book of business in Saskatchewan.

The sale of the local newspapers is effective immediately as of the end of May, while the printing plant, located at 56th Street East in Saskatoon, will remain in operation for a transition period, after which it will close. The closure of the Saskatoon printing plant will result in the loss of approximately 30 full time positions when the transition period is complete.

“Given challenging market conditions and limited synergies with the rest of our assets, primarily in Quebec and Eastern Canada, we have made the decision to divest of our newspaper publications, located throughout Saskatchewan,” said Julia Kamula, Senior Vice-President, TC Media Local Solutions.

“From a geographic perspective, the reality of operating a small number of newspapers in Western Canada was simply not efficient for TC Media,” continued Kamula. “The new owner’s portfolio of assets is much more aligned with these publications, better enabling their growth and continued evolution. This transaction is a very positive development for both our employees and these operations moving forward.”

The newspapers involved in this transaction are:

    Moose Jaw – The Moose Jaw Times Herald (Daily) and unCut (Weekly)
    Prince Albert – The Prince Albert Daily Herald (Daily), Rural Roots (Weekly) and SHOP P.A. (Periodical)
    Swift Current – The Southwest Booster (Weekly)
    Coronach – The Triangle News (Weekly)
    Grenfell – The Grenfell Sun (Weekly)
    Broadview – The Broadview Express (Weekly)
    Oxbow – The Oxbow Herald (Weekly)
    Radville – The Radville Star (Weekly) and Deep South Star (Weekly)
    Southern Life (Monthly)

“In light of the current print market, we must continuously adapt and review our equipment utilization to maximize our printing platform,” said Jacques Grégoire, President of TC Transcontinental Printing. “Given the sale of our local newspapers and the remaining commercial printing volume in the plant, we made the decision to dispose of our printing assets in Saskatchewan.”

Roger W. Holmes, owner of Star News Publishing Inc. added: “With our long-standing and innovative printing and publishing roots in Saskatchewan and Alberta, we feel we are well positioned to take the TC Transcontinental publications and print operations to the next level.”
Advertek Printing Inc., led by co-CEOs Joe Montalbano and Simon Spina, has purchased Smart Laser Graphics (SLG) to expand its market offerings in digital and print related services.

“Advertek has been on a strategic growth initiative to enhance its market position and emphasize the power of its single-source offering in a fragmented industry that is calling for stability and progressive continuity,” said Montalbano. “Our foremost commitment is to our clients, staff and vendor partners.”

The purchase enables Advertek to expand services around wide format and digital printing, as well as direct mail and full letter shop services. Collectively, Advertek’s new operation with SLG capabilities now proivdes branding and creative design services, customized e-stores, litho sheetfed, wide format and digital printing, direct mail and full letter shop services (in-house), binding and die cutting services with specialty finishes, fulfillment, warehousing, distribution and remote access proofing.

“SLG’s sales, customer service and operating resources have been instrumental in having their clients put their trust in the company’s product offering,” said Spina. “Clients of both companies can expect it to be business as usual, but with a broader suite of services, skills and solutions to meet the growing demands and complexities of the industry.”

In November 2010, Advertek began operating out of a new, custom-built 30,000-square-foot plant in Vaughan, Ontario. Montalbano and Spina took over Advertek’s ownership in 1999. At the time, Advertek was an 8-employee shop running a 4-colour Solna press. Today, the company has one of the most modern commercial printing facilities in Greater Toronto.

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