Sunday, April 7, 2013

Is the Printing Industry Devolving or Evolving? – March 2013 M&A Activity

Is the printing industry devolving? A colleague of mine recently suggested, only half kidding, that given all the negative news that we often report and comment on, it might be more appropriate to change our tagline to “The Target Report - The deal log for the devolving printing, packaging, paper, and related industries."

Based on the deals over the past month, I must emphatically stick with my tagline, the “evolving” printing industry. Mobile-interactive services have come of age, and it’s the printers who are doing the buying and/or organically growing services that link printed images to smart phones, pads, and PC’s. Quad Graphics made a splash in the industry with its front cover position on industry trade magazine, Printing Impressions – not for its recent acquisition of Vertis, but rather for its aggressive positioning to offer augmented reality applications, linking printed images to electronic versions of the message and to other “user experiences.”

In a signature deal following right on the tails of Quad Graphics’ cover article, Brown Printing acquired Nellymoser, a Boston-based mobile marketing and technology company. According to Brown Printing’s press release, Nellymoser “deployed over 800 print-to-digital campaigns in 2012. Campaigns typically include one or more brand activation points such as invisible watermarks, images, NFC and QR codes that are placed in magazines, catalogs, or on product packaging. Consumers scan the printed material with their mobile smartphones, thereby activating additional interactive content or digital direct response mobile marketing.” Brown printing now offers these cutting edge services - that’s evolution!

Lexmark, the manufacturer of printing devices that helped fuel the “distribute-then-print” model, announced back-to-back transactions that continue its evolution (there’s that word again!) from a hardware manufacturer to content delivery solutions provider. In the first deal, the company acquired Twistage, a cloud-based digital asset management solution for video, audio and image content. In its second deal of the month, Lexmark acquired AccessVia. The company’s software delivers in-store signage content to big box retailers, which is then printed in the stores on local print devices, or printed centrally in print production centers, or displayed digitally on devices throughout the stores.

Think Patented, an evolving commercial printer in Dayton, Ohio, acquired Prime Marketing, increasing its commitment to marketing service portals, PURL’s, QR codes and back-end reporting and analytics. MSP of Pittsburgh purchased the assets of e-integrity of Stratford, Connecticut, to bolster its marketing service portal and digital asset management offerings. GLS Companies of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota acquired Next Communications, offering marketing communications including database-driven solutions.

The packaging sector was quiet this month, not a surprise after the multitude of deals announced in January and February. For those committed to printing technologies, packaging remains a bright spot and we suspect that deals in the packaging sector will resume after this month’s breather.

Putting aside the planned for and expected dual bankruptcy filing of Dex One Media and SuperMedia in anticipation of their merger, March was a quiet month for bankruptcies in the industry. Also worth noting is the demise of Entertainment Publications, in a Chapter 7 filing which brings an end to the publisher of those thick coupon books sold as fundraising vehicles.

RR Donnelley announced the closing of two more printing plants, both formerly Banta facilities in Ohio. Scotsman Media ceased publication of its Pennysaver and closed plants in upstate New York. The Fetter Group in Louisville, Kentucky, shuttered its label printing operation following the sale of its label business to the much larger Fort Dearborn.

2013 March - Mergers and Acquisitions in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

Deal Party #1
(Surviving Entity)
($Mil )

Party #1 Address

Deal Party #2
($Mil )

Party #2 Address

Deal Structure


Raintree Graphics No Data Jacksonville, FL Beechler's Printing No Data Gainesville, FL 3/22/13 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
Domtar $5,482 Montreal, QC Xerox
(Paper & Print Media Unit)
$22,400 Norwalk, CT 3/22/13 No Data Acquisition Paper distribution Link
KPS Capital Partners No Data New York, NY Wausau Paper
(Specialty Papers Business)
$822.0 Mosinee, WI 3/22/13 $130.0 Acquisition
(Mesirow Financial)
Specialty paper unit & mills Link
Multi-Pack Solutions No Data Mt. Prospect, IL Green Seed Contract Packaging No Data Batavia, IL 3/21/13 No Data Acquisition PVA packaging Link
Smith Family No Data Boise, ID ESP Printing & Mailing No Data Boise, ID 3/16/13 No Data Acquisition Direct mail print & services Link
EP Graphics No Data Berne, IN Mignone Communications No Data Huntington, IN 3/13/13 No Data Asset purchase Publications & catalogs Link
Brown Printing No Data Waseca, MN Nellymoser No Data Boston, MA 3/11/13 No Data Acquisition Mobile marketing Link
Tapp Label No Data Napa, CA Ben Franklin Press & Label No Data Napa, CA 3/7/13 No Data Acquisition Wine labels Link
MSP No Data Pittsburgh, PA e-Integrity No Data Stratford, CT 3/7/13 No Data Asset purchase Web-2-Print portals Link
Lexmark $3,798 Lexington, KY AccessVia No Data Seattle, WA 3/5/13 No Data Acquisition Retail signage e-distribution Link
Lexmark $3,798 Lexington, KY Twistage No Data San Francisco, CA 3/5/13 No Data Acquisition Cloud image & video mngt. Link
Think Patented No Data Dayton, OH Prime Marketing No Data Miamisburg, OH 3/1/13 No Data Acquisition Marketing services Link
GLS Companies $55.0 Brooklyn Park, MN Next Communications No Data Minnetonka, MN 3/1/13 No Data Acquisition Marketing communications Link

2013 March - Bankruptcy Filings in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

Filing Party

($Mil )

Case #

Filing Party Address


Region & City


Attorney for Debtor

Chapter 11 Filings:
Dex One Corp
(aka R.H. Donnelly)
3/18/13 No Data 13-10533 Cary, NC 3rd Delaware
Kevin Gross Laura Davis Jones  Prepack to merge w/ SuperMedia
(aka Idearc Media, Verizon Directories)
3/18/13 No Data 13-10545 Dallas, TX 3rd Delaware
Kevin Gross Pauline K. Morgan  Prepack to merge w/ Dex One
National Converting & Packaging Corp 3/15/13 No Data 13-31358 Annis, TX 5th Northern TX
Stacey G. Jernigan Eric A. Liepins Paper sales & converting
Genesis Press, Inc. 3/7/13 No Data 13-01376 Greenville, SC 4th South Carolina
Helen E. Burris Robert A. Pohl  Commercial & publication printing
Chapter 7 Filings:
The Globe Printing Company 3/25/13 No Data 13-21250 New Wilmington, PA 3rd Western PA
Carlota M. Bohm  Kenneth K. McCann Commercial printing
Entertainment Publications, LLC 3/12/13 No Data 13-10496 Troy, MI 3rd Delaware
Christopher S. Sontchi  Christopher A. Ward Fundraising coupon books
Mail, Source and Data, Inc. 3/4/13 No Data 13-54709 Doraville, GA  11th Northern GA
C. Ray Mullins Natalie D. Mays Printing, mailing & fulfillment

2013 March - Non-Bankruptcy Closures in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

Closed Company / Facility

Date of Closure
($Mil )

Closing Address
Related Party

Related Party
Date Closure Public


RR Donnelley  - Printing Facility May-13 No Data Greenfield, OH RR Donnelley Chicago, IL 3/13/13 Formerly a Banta location Link
RR Donnelley  - Printing Facility May-13 No Data Sycamore, OH RR Donnelley Chicago, IL 3/13/13 Formerly a Banta location Link
Scotsman Media Group 3/11/13 No Data Auburn, NY
Cortland, NY
None N/A 3/11/13 Ceased publication of Pennysaver Link
Fetter Group Jun-13 No Data Louisville, KY None N/A 3/6/13 Follows sale of label business in February '13 Link