Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cloak and Dagger Inks Fight Counterfeiters – June 2015 M&A Activity

Australian company YPB announced that it has acquired California-based printing company, Continuous Forms Control (CFC), to introduce its covert ink compounds into the US market. YPB develops and manufactures unique ingredients that are blended into inks and coatings and that cannot be seen, damaged or removed from the product or package being printed. This effectively creates a specific “product DNA” which forever identifies that product as the genuine article, discernable to anyone with the corresponding handheld scanners programmed to recognize the specific secret compound. The company anticipates that the packaging, fashion label and pharmaceutical sectors will utilize its printing services at the acquired company to combat counterfeiters who will not be able to match the unique chemical markers blended into the inks. The company completes the loop with its Brand Reporter software that enables field agents to use their smart phones to report suspicious items to corporate headquarters, including photos with geo-located tags. YPB’s most recent investor presentation projects revenues in the US to grow to $10 million as CFC incorporates the covert inks into millions of product labels. 

In addition to YPB, other acquirers continue to invest in the two basic elements common to all printing, ink and the underlying substrates. Sun Chemical, the world’s largest ink manufacturer, expanded its reach into Southeast Europe, acquiring full control of its joint venture in the region. Epson, manufacturer of inkjet printing devices, acquired Italian company For.Tex which develops, manufactures and sells specialty inks and coatings used to digitally print textiles.

The consolidation of the distribution of printing papers, the most commons printing substrate, continues at a steady pace. Global paper and pulp distributor Central National-Gottesman added another distributor to its network late last month with the purchase of Los Angeles-based Performance Paper. The acquired company was added to its Spicers division which distributes printing papers throughout the western states. This acquisition marks the fifth printing papers distributor that the family-owned Central National-Gottesman company has acquired since 2012, building on the network begun in 1984 when company acquired Lindenmeyr and shortly thereafter bolted on the Munroe company. On a much smaller scale, Mac Papers, a roll-up of mom-and-pop paper distributors in the Southeast, acquired Packaging Professionals in Lewisburg, Tennessee.

Private equity investment firm The Jordan Company added to its investment in the category of plastic printing substrates primarily used in packaging applications. Transilwrap, acquired by The Jordan Company in 2013 (see The Target Report – November 2013), itself acquired Ellis Industrial Packaging, adding to its line of converted films and specialty plastics used in printing and packaging. Sun Capital Partners acquired Canadian paper and packaging company CanAmPac through its portfolio company PaperWorks, adding to its significant investments in the printing, packaging and paper industries. The acquisition includes the Strathcona mill that manufactures paperboard for packaging exclusively using recycled fibers.

Commercial Printing and Document Management

Taylor Corporation emerged as the winning bidder for printing and document management company Standard Register in the 363 sale in bankruptcy with an offer of $307 million. Based on the most recently reported revenues of $904 million, Taylor’s offer equals 34% of trailing revenues, a price higher than the 29% of projected revenues that Quad/Graphics paid for the presumably more financially sound Brown Printing in April 2014. Standard Register filed bankruptcy just this past March, reportedly unable to meet its obligations from the debt incurred with its own acquisition of print management company Workflow One in 2013 (see The Target Report – August 2013). One day after winning Standard Register, Taylor Corporation announced the acquisition of NEPS, a much smaller New Hampshire-based document management company.

Commercial printer Excelsior Printing is closing its printing operations in North Adams, Massachusetts, after 125 years, transitioning the remaining business to Integrity Graphics in Windsor, Connecticut. The venerable printing company operated in a classic New England brick mill building and had been owned by the Crane family since 1970, operating first under the ownership of Crane & Co., manufacturers of specialty papers including for much of the world’s paper currency, then under David Crane since 2008.

Jones Printing in Chattanooga, Tennessee continued the un-rolling of the once acquisitive roll-up Nationwide Argosy, as the management team completed a management buyout, returning the company to its original status as a single stand-alone commercial printing company.

Retail and Display

GSP, a retail display design and production company located in Clearwater, Florida acquired Great Big Pictures in Madison, Wisconsin, adding 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space and expanding to the Midwest. Great Big Pictures specializes in the production of in-store graphics and display.

Privately owned packaging powerhouse Menasha Packaging is back on our deal log for the fourth time with an acquisition in the retail display segment, acquiring Portable Packaging in Mississauga, Ontario. Portable Packaging provides design services and pre-packed displays for retailers and consumer goods companies.


Flexible packaging continues to be a very active segment for deals. PE firm Mason Wells acquired Minneapolis-based AWT Labels & Packaging, a producer of flexible packaging, digitally printed labels, and shrink sleeves. Coveris, a portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners based in Chicago announced two acquisitions of flexible packaging companies in June, expanding its presence as a major player in the increasingly global packaging segment, with the acquisition of Elldex Packaging Solutions in New Zealand and the other being Guatemala-based Olefinas which also operates in Mexico. Fortis Solutions Group acquired two label printing companies, Color Craft Label in Memphis, Tennessee and Kopco Graphics in Westchester, Ohio which also produces flexible packaging as well as labels.


The churn in the regional and local newspaper industry continues unabated. Adams Publishing Group was active for the second time this year, acquiring the Southern Maryland Newspapers from Post Community Media, including 13 publications and associated websites. This follows six deals, each involving multiple titles, completed by Adams in 2014. New Media Investment Group announced the acquisition of The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio which ends 110 years of family ownership of the paper and its related publications. New Media now publishes 126 daily publications, in excess of 550 community publications and over 460 related websites.

2015 June - 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


CC Industries
(sub. Henry Crown & Co.)
No Data Chicago, IL J.L. Clark
(sub. Clarcor)
$77.0 Rockford, IL 6/30/15 No Data Acquisition Metal & plastic packaging Link
Mason Wells No Data Milwaukee, WI AWT Labels & Packaging No Data Minneapolis, MN  6/28/15 No Data Acquisition Flexible packaging Link
Gateway Packaging No Data St. Louis, MO Apex Bag No Data Wapakoneta, OH 6/23/15 No Data Acquisition Multiwall bags Link
Taylor Corp. No Data Mankato, MN NEPS No Data Salem, NH 6/18/15 No Data Asset Acquisition Document mngt. Link
Taylor Corp. No Data Mankato, MN Standard Register $904.0 Dayton, OH 6/17/15 $307.0 363 Sale in Ch. 11 Printing & document mngt. Link
Integrity Graphics No Data Windsor, CT Excelsior Printing No Data N. Adams, MA 6/13/15 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
Adams Publishing Group No Data Minneapolis, MN Southern Maryland Newspapers
(Div.  Post Community Media)
No Data Waldorf, MD 6/12/15 No Data Acquisition Community newspapers Link
Jones Printing No Data Chattanooga, TN Jones Solutions
(Sub. Nationwide Argosy)
No Data Houston, TX 6/12/15 No Data Mngt. buyout Commercial printing Link
Transilwrap No Data Franklin Park, IL Ellis Industrial Packaging No Data South Glamorgan,
6/9/15 No Data Acquisition Specialty film & foils Link
Fortis Solutions Group No Data Virginia Beach, VA Color Craft Label No Data Memphis, TN 6/5/15 No Data Acquisition Label printing Link
Fortis Solutions Group No Data Virginia Beach, VA Kopco Graphics No Data West Chester, OH 6/5/15 No Data Acquisition Label printing Link
GSP No Data Clearwater, FL  Great Big Pictures No Data Madison, WI 6/5/15 No Data Asset Acquisition Retail graphics & display Link
PaperWorks Industries No Data Bala Cynwyd, PA CanAmPac No Data Napanee, ON 6/5/15 No Data Acquisition Paperboard mills & packaging Link
J&S Business Products No Data Ayer, MA ValueCalendars.com No Data Ayer, MA 6/4/15 No Data Buyout & spin-off Online print storefronts Link
Menasha Packaging No Data Neenah, WI Portable Packaging No Data Mississauga, ON 6/4/15 No Data Acquisition Retail displays Link
New Media Investment Group $760.9 New York, NY The Columbus Dispatch No Data Columbus, OH 6/3/15 $47.0 Acquisition Regional & newspapers Link
YPB No Data Sydney, Australia Continuous Forms Control No Data Laguna Niguel, CA 6/2/15 No Data Acquisition Forms and label printing Link
Gannett $6,080 McLean, VA York Daily Record
(sub. Digital First Media)
No Data New York, NY 6/1/15 No Data Acquisition Metro & regional newspapers Link
Gannett $6,080 McLean, VA Texas-New Mexico Newspapers
(sub. Digital First Media)
No Data New York, NY 6/1/15 No Data Acquisition Metro & regional newspapers Link
(Port. co. Sun Capital Partners)
$2,759 Chicago, IL Olefinas No Data Villa Nueva,
6/1/15 No Data Acquisition Flexible packaging Link
Sun Chemical $3,500 Parsippany, NJ Sun Chemical SE Europe
(5 countries)
$30.0 Aspropyrgos,
6/1/15 No Data Buyout of JV Printing inks & coatings Link
Mac Papers No Data Jacksonville, FL Packaging Professionals No Data Lewisburg, TN 6/1/15 No Data Asset Acquisition Paper & supply distribution Link
(Port. co. Sun Capital Partners)
$2,759 Chicago, IL Elldex Packaging Solutions No Data Auckland,
New Zealand
6/1/15 No Data Acquisition Flexible packaging Link
Epson $9,100 Tokyo, Japan For.Tex € 24.0 Fino Mornasco,
6/1/15 No Data Acquisition Textile inks Link

2015 June - Bankruptcy Filings in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

Filing Party

($Mil )

Case #

Filing Party Address


Region & City


Attorney for Debtor

Chapter 11 Filings:
No Chapter 11 Filings Found this Month --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Chapter 7 Filings:
Custom Media Group 6/23/165 No Data 15-11302 Santa Barbara, CA 9th Central CA
Santa Barbara
Peter Carroll Carissa N. Horowitz Custom publications
Printec 6/22/15 No Data 15-06422 Clearwater, FL 11th Middle FL
K. Rodney May  Jeffrey R. Thibault Commercial printing

2015 June - 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


B&W Press Jun-15 No Data Georgetown, MA None N/A 6/25/15 Direct mail printing Link
Gannett - Printing Plant Jul-15 No Data Maple Grove, MN Gannett Co. McLean, VA 6/2/15 USA Today outsourced to Star Tribune
St. Cloud Times outsourced to ECM Printing