Friday, May 4, 2012

PE Fund Purchases Urban Paper Mill – April 2012 M&A Activity

Can a paper mill survive in the middle of one of the most heavily urbanized regions in the country? Atlas Holdings made exactly that bet in April, purchasing the Marcal Paper Company from Highland Capital Management. Marcal Paper, now known as Soundview Paper Company, operates an old papermaking plant just outside America’s first planned industrial city, Paterson, New Jersey. Purchased by Highland out of bankruptcy in 2008 for approximately $160 million, the company operates in over one million square feet of space, much of it dating back to the 1920’s, with its water supply routed from the remnants of the Dundee canal, built in 1861.  Atlas Holdings, which has investments globally in pulp, paper, wood products and packaging, will need all of its namesake Greek hero’s mythical strengths to finally turn around this urban paper company known for bargain-priced recycled-fiber tissue paper products. At least the company does not have to fear that their products will be replaced by digital technologies….

EFI, which has a significant portfolio of print-related management information systems (MIS) and, as we noted in December 2011, had acquired a German MIS company, is back on our deal log with the acquisition of Metrics Sistemas de Informacao, a Brazilian provider of MIS solutions for the printing and packaging industries.

RR Donnelley continued adding electronic media services with its investment in CoffeeTable, a catalog shopping app for Apples’ iPad. Danaher, a large industrial conglomerate not usually associated with the printing industry, acquired X-Rite, known to printers as a manufacturer of color measurement devices. Since X-Rite in turn owns Pantone, which sets color standards, Danaher is now a major player in the printing and packaging industries.

Print production companies in a variety of sectors announced transactions, with several acquisitions occurring in commercial printing, and deals closing in digital book manufacturing, POP displays, marketing services and bindery services.

We found nine bankruptcy filings during the month of April. As with the M&A deals, bankruptcy filings occurred in several sectors, including a paper merchant, Paragon Papers, Inc., and a packaging and fulfillment company, Packaging Systems, Inc., each filing for reorganization under Chapter 11.  Ambassador Media Group, LLC, a publisher of yellow page directories in the metro New York City area, filed for liquidation under Chapter 7, having survived its initial Chapter 11 proceeding, originally filed in 2009.*

Not listed in the deal log, but worthy of mention, is the closing of the former Mack Printing plant in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley region. Recently part of Cenveo’s Cadmus Specialty Publications division, the plant operated for over 100 years, with many local folks spending their entire working career at this factory. At one point, the company employed almost 1,000 workers, eventually reduced to just 195 employees when the closing was announced. With a focus on short- to medium-run professional and trade journals, many of which have migrated to strictly online publication, the factory had apparently run its course and was no longer competitive.

* Note: The Brownstein Corporation provided services to Ambassador Media Group (AMG), 
subsequent to the confirmation of the company’s plan of reorganization in 2010, reporting on covenant compliance to the company’s lender. Brownstein Corporation was also engaged by AMG to seek a buyer of the company. Ultimately, AMG management elected to file voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate.

2012 April - 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


Atlas Holdings
(Soundview Paper Co.)
No Data Greenwich, CT Marcal Paper Mills No Data Elmwood Park, NJ 4/24/12 No Data Acquisition Household paper products. Link
Spectrum Print Communications No Data Orlando, FL DeRoo Printing Services No Data Casselberry, FL 4/18/12 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing. Link
Watermill Group No Data Lexington, MA Manistique Papers No Data Manistique, MI 4/17/12 No Data Asset sale in bankruptcy 100% Recycled paper mfg. Link
Integrated Book Technology
$19.0 Troy, NY Hamilton Printing No Data Castleton, NY 4/17/12 No Data Acquisition Digital Book / Web Offset
($30Mil combined revenue)
Tensor International No Data Woodridge, IL Tensor Group No Data Woodridge, IL 4/17/12 No Data Assets Acquisition Press manufacturer Link
TorQuest Partners No Data Toronto, ON Array Marketing Group No Data Toronto, ON 4/16/12 No Data Acquisition POP Displays Link
North Plains No Data Toronto, ON Xinet No Data Berkeley, CA 4/12/12 No Data Acquisition Digital Asset Management Link
Princeton Companies No Data Robbinsville, NJ Phoenix Marketing Services No Data Claremont, CA 4/11/12 No Data Acquisition Marketing services, offset & digital print, fullfillment Link
Allied Group No Data Cranston, RI United Printing No Data Warwick, RI 4/12/12 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing
($22Mil combined revenue)
E&M Bindery No Data Clifton, NJ Finish On Demand No Data Lancaster, PA 4/11/12 No Data Strategic Partnership High-volume & short-run binderies Link
Danaher $16,091 Washington, DC X-Rite (inc. Pantone)
$237.6 Grand Rapids, MI 4/10/12 $625.0 Acquisition Color measurement technology Link
Electronics for Imaging (EFI) $591.6 Foster City, CA Metrics Sistemas de Informacao No Data Sao Paulo, Brazil 4/10/12 No Data Acquisition MIS systems for Printing & Packaging Link
Custom Printing No Data Oxnard, CA Ojai Printing No Data Ojai, CA  4/5/12 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
Omaha Print No Data Omaha, NE Holm Graphic No Data Des Moines, IA 4/4/12 No Data Client Acquisition
Commercial printing Link
Kirkwood Holdings
(Kirkwood Printing)
$43.0 Wilmington, MA Nu Graphics, Etc. No Data Woburn, MA 4/4/12 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
RR Donnelley $10,018 Chicago, IL CoffeeTable No Data San Francisco, CA 4/3/12 No Data Equity stake Catalog shopping App for iPad Link

2012 April - Bankruptcy Filings in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

Filing Party

($Mil )

Case #

Filing Party Address


Region & City


Attorney for Debtor

Chapter 11 Filings:
Martin Lithograph, Inc.
(DBA MLI Integrated Graphics Solutions)
4/24/12 No Data 12-06199 Tampa, FL 11th Middle FL
Tampa, FL
Catherine Peek
Curran K. Porto Commercial printing
Paragon Paper, Inc. 4/17/12 No Data 12-19955 Sicklerville, NJ 3rd New Jersey
Camden, NJ
Judith H. Wizmur Jason C Manfrey  Paper merchants
Keystone Printing Ink Co. 4/16/12 No Data 12-13707 Philadelphia, PA 3rd Eastern PA
Philadelphia, PA
Jean K. FitzSimon Allen B. Dubroff Printing ink
Alternative Graphics, Inc.
(DBA Wilson Graphics)
4/3/12 No Data 12-11378 Santa Barbara, CA 9th Central CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Robin Riblet William C. Beall Commercial printing
Packaging Systems LLC 4/3/12 No Data 12-18864 Keasbey, NJ 3rd New Jersey
Trenton, NJ
Raymond T. Lyons Jr Bruce J. Wisotsky Packaging, filling, fulfillment
Chapter 7 Filings:
Blue Water Press, Inc.
(DBA Easterly & Co.)
4/23/12 No Data 12-32953 Houston, TX 5th Southern TX
Houston, TX
David R. Jones Matthew Scott Okin Graphic & communcation services
Baldwin Press 4/20/12 No Data 12-32504 Dallas, TX 5th Northern TX
Dallas, TX
Stacey G. Jernigan Baldwin Press
Pro Se
Commercial printing
AD2 Advertising and Printing, Inc. 4/10/12 No Data 12-13030 Framingham, MA 1st Massachusetts
Boston, MA
Frank J. Bailey Catherine Becker Good Web-based print broker
Ambassador Media Group, LLC 4/6/12 No Data 12-11445 New York, NY 2nd Southern NY
New York, NY
Robert E. Gerber Tracy L. Klestadt Yellow page directory publisher