Sunday, November 4, 2012

Does the Vertis “Chapter 33” Signal the End for Printing industry’s Best Known Names? – October 2012 M&A Activity

Vertis, the financially challenged publisher of ubiquitous newsprint advertising inserts, now qualifies as a serial bankruptcy filer. Vertis filed Chapter 11 for the third time (a rare, but not unheard of, “Chapter 33”), in anticipation of the sale of its assets to Quad Graphics. In related filings, two other affiliated companies, both venerable industry names, Webcraft and American Color Graphics, filed Chapter 11 on the same day as Vertis, each also filing motions with the Bankruptcy Court for Joint Administration with Vertis. In an amazing list of aliases, Vertis and its co-filers indicate that their businesses are “aka”: Vertis Advertising Solutions Services, Image Tap, Vertis Logistics, Vertis Communications, Vertis Creative, Vertis Logistics Services, Adout, Lot 44, Printco, Vertis Advertising Production Services, Forte Studios, Vertis Receivables II, Enteron Group, Imagination Brewery, LTC Group, The Color Company, American Color Packaging, ACG Holdings, Gowe Printing Company, ACG Canada, GBP Industries, American Images, Sullivan Graphics, Sullivan Marketing, American Color Premedia, American Color, Flexi-Tech Graphics, AC Packaging, The Visus Group, Sullivan Media Corporation, Digiscope, American Color Print, American Images of North America, Vertis Communications, Shakopee Valley Printing, AC Studios of American Color, AC Studios, 24* Street Group, American Color Print, Mail Efficiency, Vertis Newark, 5 Digit Plus, American Color Graphics, Webcraft and of course, just plain “Vertis”. I suspect that if Quad Graphics prevails in its bid to acquire the Vertis assets in the pre-packaged 363 sale process, many of these names will be retired and Vertis will be out of the bankruptcy business.

SGS International, backed by Onex Partners III, is on the deal log for the second month in a row, acquiring Stevenson Color, a packaging and prepress company in Cincinnati, OH. This follows its acquisition last month of the packaging prepress division of Vertis (presumably sold by Vertis in preparation for the aforementioned bankruptcy filing). Do these transactions indicate the formation of a major new presence in the brand management and deployment space now dominated by Schawk and a couple other global players?

FujiFilm Holdings International purchased the Business Service Provider division of Salmat Ltd. In Australia, rebranding the service under its Fuji Xerox name, focusing on its ability to manage data and documents as the company continues to evolve from its traditional strengths in manufacturing film, plates and processing equipment.

In an unusual vertical move up the value chain in 2010, Mohawk Papers acted as a venture capital investor behind Pinhole Press, an online photo printing service that prints photos for consumers. Dedicated to “beautifully simple” products, the service prints exclusively on papers made by Mohawk Fine Paper, a mill that was one of my favorites in my early career when I specified paper for clients. I often suggested the mill’s premier paper, “Mohawk Superfine,” when a client asked for my advice, and they wanted a superb and subtle finish in an uncoated sheet. I still remember the look and feel of the finely textured paper and the even and smooth lay-down of a double-hit of super warm red. Those uncoated sheets sure were super.

2012 October - 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


SGS International No Data Louisville, KY Stevenson Color No Data Cincinnati, OH 10/23/12 No Data Acquisition Packaging & retail prepress Link
liveBooks No Data Sausalito, CA Pinhole Press, Pinhole Pro No Data Waterford, NY 10/16/12 No Data Acquisition Printed photo gifts Link
FujiFilm Holdings Corporation ¥2,195 Tokyo, Japan Business Service Provider
Salmat Ltd.
 AU$316 Matraville, Australia 10/11/12  AU$375 Acquisition Document processing Link
Quad Graphics $4,324 Sussex, WI Vertis Communications $1,100 Baltimore, MD 10/11/12 $258.5 363 Asset purchase Advertising inserts Link
Revolution Capital Group No Data Los Angeles, CA Tampa Tribune No Data Tampa. FL 10/9/12 $9.5 Acquisition Newspaper publisher Link
Wingate Partners No Data Dallas, TX Nekoosa Coated Products No Data Nekoosa, WI 10/2/12 No Data Acquisition Mfg. of specialty papers Link
Herrmann Printing & Litho No Data Pittsburgh, PA Enhanced Digital Printing No Data Export, PA 10/2/12 No Data Merger Cross-media commercial print Link
Sartori Software No Data Seattle, WA SAP Postalsoft Presort No Data Walldorf, Germany 10/2/12 No Data Acquisition Mailing prep software Link
Electronics for Imaging (EFI) $591.6 Foster City, CA Online Print Solutions (OPS) No Data Sydney, Australia 10/1/12 No Data Acquisition Web-to-Print applications Link

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

Filing Party

($Mil )

Case #

Filing Party Address


Region & City


Attorney for Debtor

Chapter 11 Filings:
Tech Bindery, Inc. 10/10/12 No Data 12-44046 Santa Fe Springs, CA 9th Central CA
Los Angeles
Neil W. Bason Marcus Gomez Bindery services
Vertis 10/10/12 $1,100 12-12823 Baltimore, MD 3rd Delaware
Mary F. Walrath Jason M. Madron Advertising inserts
American Color Graphics 10/10/12 No Data 12-12826 Baltimore, MD 3rd Delaware
Mary F. Walrath Jason M. Madron Filed for Joint Administration w/ Vertis
Webcraft 10/10/12 No Data 12-12822 Baltimore, MD 3rd Delaware
Mary F. Walrath Jason M. Madron Filed for Joint Administration w/ Vertis
Chapter 7 Filings:
GRL Packaging, LLC 10/31/12 No Data 12-25391 New Castle, PA 3rd Western PA
Erie, PA
Carlota M. Bohm  Frank G. Verterano Corrugated boxes & displays
Fife Packaging 10/17/12 No Data 12-13204 Hooksett, NH 1st NH
J. Michael Deasy Kevin P/ Chrisholm Beverage carriers
Superior Mailing & Printing Services, Inc. 10/9/12 No Data 12-62615 Richmond, MI 6th Eastern MI
Walter Sharpero Michael A. Greiner Printing and mail services