Mergers & Acquisitions
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.
Cansel, a software, hardware, and service provider to engineering, surveying, construction, architecture, government and printing industries, has acquired PMP Media. The move expands Cansel’s presence in Quebec.

“This acquisition expands and strengthens our media and equipment offering,” said Stephen Fletcher, Vice President, Cansel. “And most importantly, the addition of PMP Media, increases our presence and customer support in Quebec."

Founded in 1978, PMP Media specializes in paper conversion and distribution of large format digital equipment and media, including specialty papers, inks and other supplies.

"We are excited to join Cansel," notes Richard Marleau, President, PMP Media. "As a supplier, this acquisition will strengthen our position in the large format market, allowing our customers to benefit from a wide range of products, equipment and large format services."
Rayacom Group based in Edmonton, Alberta, purchased the assets of Generation Printing of Vancouver, BC, and states the move will allow it to launch a new West Coast trade printing division. As part of the acquisition, Rayacom is adding a 40-inch Heidelberg CD102-6LX3 press with an anilox coater, factory UV prep, and a triple extended delivery, as well as an HP Indigo 5500R press.

By acquiring Generation, which was founded nearly 20 years ago by Edward and Rob Kouwenhoven, Rayacom explains it increases its total production space by 30,000. Rayacom previously had 11 branches across Canada including locations in Toronto, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Kelowna, Burnaby and Vancouver.

A statement from Rayacom, which was founded in 2004, explains the Generation asset purchase will allow it to “reach new markets and better serve agencies and brokers within the trade printing market,” while also printing on larger sheet sizes, produce metallic prints and work with 48-point cardstock.

“Generation Printing is a significant player in the Vancouver market, with unique manufacturing capabilities and strong complimentary customer relationships,” said Austin Tran, Rayacom Group’s CEO. “With immediate synergies, this transaction enhances our market presence in the West Coast, and significantly elevates our manufacturing capabilities while improving our ability to unlock capacities in our various stores across Canada.”

Generation Printing will continue to operate as an individual entity. “Rayacom's national footprint and innovative approach to printing makes them the perfect company to take our organization to the next level. This strategic acquisition will create more and better choices for our customers and we anticipate a seamless transition,” said Edward Kouwenhoven, CEO of Generation Printing.

The PDI Group of Kirkland, Quebec, has entered into an exclusive agreement, through its wholly owned subsidiary Trans-Optique Inc., to merge its large-format-printing operations with those of both Imagerie DB Inc. and LVP.ca Inc. The move will create a significant Canadian large-format printing operation in the Montreal region.

The three companies plan to begin working together within a new, dedicated facility this summer. The resulting operation will be called PDI Large Format Solutions Inc. A statement released by PDI on the mergers explains: “The merger of our three companies will create an amazing synergy where our creative approach, our production capacity and our sales expertise will allow us to bring to market a greater depth and integration of capabilities that will define us as undeniable leaders in this domain.”

PDI Inc. describes itself as the largest independent sheetfed printing company in Quebec, providing services like premedia, offset, toner and large-format production, as well as Web-to-print, fulfillment, warehousing and direct-mail services to clients in Quebec, Canada and in the United States.

The PDI Group made its first major commitment to the large-format-printing sector in late-2014 by acquiring one of Quebec’s best know operations, Trans-Optique based in Montreal’s area of Pointe-Claire.

Based in Boisbriand, Quebec, Imagerie DB Inc., in addition to its extensive prepress background, has been focusing on the large-format-printing segment for more than 14 years. The company is led by President Benoit Paquette and Vice President Denis Paquette.

LVP.ca Inc. of Terrebonne, Quebec, is described as a large-format-print provider with a multifaceted approach, including services like design and installation. It has more than 20 years of experience in the sector.

“LVP’s proven strength and experience in creative conceptualizations and consultative approach to customer service will enable customers to utilize truly unique sign and display capabilities to empower their brands and communication strategies,” said Francis Tellier, President of LVP.ca Inc.
Bobst Group SA and WIFAG-Polytype Group, both of Switzerland, have entered into what the companies describe as exclusive negotiations with regard to Bobst acquiring WIFAG-Polytype’s coating technology business.

The proposed transaction is subject to the parties reaching a definitive agreement, with the closing of the transaction expected to occur at the end of the second quarter of 2016. The transaction would also be subject to customary regulatory approvals.

WIFAG-Polytype Group is a privately owned international engineering and manufacturing company with headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland. The group focuses on the production of printing machines for plastic containers and tubes and metal packaging equipment, as well as in the development of high-precision coating and laminating equipment and process solutions for the production of multilayer films and papers. WIFAG-Polytype Group maintains sites in Asia, U.S., and Europe and employs more than 800 people worldwide.

Bobst is one of the world’s leading suppliers of equipment and services to packaging and label manufacturers in the folding carton, corrugated board and flexible materials industries.

Founded in 1890 by Joseph Bobst in Lausanne, Switzerland, Bobst generated around $1.8 billion in revenues in its most recent fiscal year and has a presence in more than 50 countries, runs 12 production facilities in eight countries and employs close to 5,000 people.

Eastman Kodak Company announced it is in talks to sell its Prosper-branded enterprise inkjet business. Sagent Advisors, an independent investment bank, and DC Advisory, a European corporate finance adviser, which share Daiwa Securities, a Japanese investment bank, as a common shareholder, have been engaged by Kodak to manage the sale process.

“The Prosper business has significant potential for accelerated growth,” said Jeff Clarke, Kodak CEO. “To achieve its full economic potential, Prosper will be best leveraged by a company with a larger sales and distribution footprint in digital printing markets.”

At the same, Kodak announced functional 3D printing, including touch screen sensors, to be an important future element of its business. After looking at both silver and copper metal mesh technologies, Kodak has decided to focus on copper. Kodak will exit its position in silver metal mesh development, but will continue to make silver halide film available to touch screen sensor manufacturers.

At the start of March, Kodak announced plans to debut its next generation inkjet platform called Ultrastream, in May at drupa, built on its continuous inkjet Stream technology. It holds an 8-inch configuration for label production, and features what Kodak describes as a smaller drop size and precise placement accuracy for higher resolution.

International Paper of Memphis  entered into a definitive agreement to sell its corrugated packaging business in China and Southeast Asia to Xiamen Bridge Hexing Equity Investment Partnership Enterprise. International Paper's corrugated packaging business in Asia has 18 plants and a workforce of approximately 3,000 employees.

Under terms of the transaction, International Paper will receive a total of approximately RMB 1 billion (approximately US$150 million at current exchange rate), subject to post-closing adjustments and other payments, including the buyer's assumption of the liability for loans of approximately US$50 million to be paid to International Paper within six months of closing of the sale.

The transaction is expected to be complete in the next few months.
Presstek LLC has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the business and operations of Anocoil Corporation, which is expected to close at the end of March.

Anocoil, founded in 1958, is one of North America’s largest independent producers of analogue and digital offset printing plates for the newspaper and commercial market segments. The company explains its development strength is focused in the areas of aluminum substrate and coating technology, which Presstek plans to leverage for generating new environmentally progressive printing technologies.

 “I, along with all of Anocoil’s employees, am thrilled to be partnering with Presstek for the next stage of our company’s growth,” said David Bujese, Anocoil’s President. "With Presstek we have found a strategic partner committed to being an innovative market leader.”
 
Founded in 1987, Presstek’s core product portfolio includes: 4- to 6-colour DI presses; thermal and inkjet Computer-to-Plate systems; and printing plates for DI presses and CTP applications (waterless, thermal and inkjet). Presstek also has a global network of service technicians supporting prepress, press, and post-press equipment.

“We are excited about bringing the two companies together as we expand our product offerings and capabilities,” said Sparsh Bhargava, Presstek’s Chief Executive Officer. “Both Presstek and Anocoil have extremely talented employees and a long history of innovation.”
EFI has acquired Rialco Limited, described as one of Europe’s leading suppliers of dye powders and colour products for digital print and industrial manufacturing industries.
 
Based in Bradford, UK, Rialco will now operate as part of EFI’s industrial inkjet business as the California company plans to expand its inkjet portfolio with Rialco’s ink component capabilities.
 
EFI explains the dye-sublimation ink market Rialco serves is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global ink industry, based on new research from Smithers Pira forecasting 18.4 percent year-over-year growth in dye-sublimated material print volumes through 2021, and a greater than 100 percent increase in volume and value of dye-sublimated printed material in that same time frame.

Financial terms of EFI’s acquisition of Rialco were not disclosed, but the deal is not expected to be material to EFI’s Q1 or full-year 2016 financial results.
 
“The deal announced today gives EFI the platform to extend the technical advantages we provide to customers in the signage, textile, ceramics and other industries that are rapidly transitioning from analog to digital printing,” said Stephen Emery, VP of EFI’s ink business.
Flint Group has issued a binding offer to Siegwerk to acquire its web offset business. This offer includes the transfer of all technical expertise and product portfolios relating to Siegwerk’s Heatset and Newsink product lines.

“We are very excited by this transaction,” said Antoine Fady, CEO, Flint Group. “This commitment guarantees a long term supply position for our heatset and news ink customers and further enhances our strong focus on the print media and packaging markets across the world.”

Siegwerk explains its decision to sell its web offset business is in line with a strategy to focus on its core business in packaging printing; and to further build its market share in inks and coatings for labels and flexible packaging.

“To ensure the lasting success of our company, we need to clearly devote our resources to serving the markets of tomorrow. We will do so by focusing on our core packaging printing business,” said Siegwerk’s CEO Herbert Forker. “It is here where we see significant growth opportunities particularly within the strongly accelerating Asian markets.”

All 76 permanent employees in Siegwerk’s web offset business will be offered a transfer into other areas within their Siegburg site with Flint Group stating it intends to employ a core team from Siegwerk’s web-offset business after the sale.

The Siegwerk publication gravure business, which manufactures printing inks for high-end magazines, catalogues and commercials, will be continued. The company claims to have market share of around 45 percent in Europe in this area.

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