Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Private Equity LOVES Labels – August 2016 M&A Activity

It’s a love affair - private equity firms are hot for printing companies that specialize in prime labels and flexible packaging. AEA Investors, a New York City-based private equity fund, announced that it was adding to its holding in the label printing segment with the addition of three companies to be bolted-on to its portfolio platform company Inovar Packaging Group which the fund acquired earlier this year. The triple-play acquisition brings Murray Label & Packaging in Dallas, Texas, 21st Century Labels & Packaging in Davie, Florida and SafePrints in Miami, Florida into the Inovar Packaging Group. The acquired companies produce custom prime pressure sensitive labels, printed shrink sleeves, cartons and flexible packaging. AEA Investors is a very senior member in the PE world, with lineage going back to 1968, and American aristocrat founders including the Rockefeller, Mellon, and Harriman families. The firm has approximately $10 billion in assets under management with offices on three continents. They clearly like the label business.

Advent International, middle-aged in PE firm years, having been established in 1984, stepped into the US label printing business in a big way in August. Advent announced the acquisition of Fort Dearborn, a supplier of prime labels headquartered in Elk Grove, Illinois. This is a secondary buyout of Fort Dearborn, which has been a portfolio platform company of KRG Capital Partners which acquired Fort Dearborn in 2010 and completed four add-ons to the company since 2013. Fort Dearborn is now one of only a few major players in the otherwise highly fragmented label printing segment. The company is reportedly now the third largest supplier of prime labels in the North American market, with 15 manufacturing facilities and approximately 1,675 employees. Like AEA Investors, Advent International also has patrician roots, founded by Peter Brooke who had previously founded TA Associates, an early and very successful venture capital firm. Advent just completed raising $13 billion for its eighth global fund, bringing its total to $42 billion under management. They also like the label business.

Here are more private equity firms that have shown the love for the label and 

related printing segments during 2015 and the first eight months of 2016:

PE Activity in Label & Related Printing Segments (2015/2016)
Private Equity - Buyer Platform Company Acquired Company
(PE Seller)
Advent International N/A Fort Dearborn
(Port co. KRG Capital Partners)
AEA Investors Inovar Packaging Group Murray Label & Packaging Aug-16
AEA Investors Inovar Packaging Group 21st Century Labels & Packaging Aug-16
AEA Investors Inovar Packaging Group SafePrints Aug-16
Svoboda Capital Infinite Packaging Hyde Park Label Apr-16
AEA Investors N/A Inovar Packaging Group Jan-16
Wellspring Capital ProAmpac Coating Excellence International Dec-15
Saugatuck Capital Pharmaceutic
Litho & Label
Plymouth Printing Nov-15
Sidereal Capital Group N/A Flexo Transparent Oct-15
Wind Point Partners Novolex Wisconsin Film & Bag
(Port co. Argosy Partners)
Wellspring Capital Prolamina Ampac Holdings Aug-15
Mason Wells N/A AWT Labels & Packaging Jun-15
Sun Capital Partners Coveris Olefinas Jun-15
Sun Capital Partners Coveris Elldex Packaging Solutions Jun-15
Highlander Partners N/A Popular Ink Feb-15
Wendell Group N/A Constantia Flexibles
(Port co. One Equity Partners)

Commercial Printing - Diversified Services

Firespring, a diverse marketing services provider in Lincoln, Nebraska, added two more printing companies to the roster of Midwest firms it has rolled up over the past two years. In this latest transaction, the company acquired commercial printer Jacob North Print & Media along with quick printer A to Z Printing which had merged with Jacob North in November 2014. Jacob North may have finally found a home after 128 years in business, having filed bankruptcy in 2013, purchased in a bankruptcy auction at a fire sale price by Nebraska-based Midstates Print & Media Solutions in 2013 (see The Target Report – June 2013), and now sold again, this time to Firespring.

Firespring’s slogan is “A force for good” and its website features millennials eating, playing, and working together to use their creative marketing and production capabilities to “do good.” In furtherance of its dedication to assist non-profit organizations with marketing services, Firespring announced another acquisition in August, the purchase of online crowdfunding platform Deposit a Gift.

In other deals in the commercial printing segment, Maine-based serial acquirer J.S. McCarthy Printers acquired the remaining business of Artco Offset in Canton, Massachusetts. Artco’s plant was closed and the production equipment auctioned off in August. Woods Printing in Holland, Indiana acquired Oaks Printing in Evansville. Grand format specialty provider SBR/Vision Graphics in Salt Lake City has established a foothold in what may be the ultimate market for grand format services, Las Vegas, with its acquisition of commercial printing company Universal Color Graphics.

Supremex, a publicly traded Canadian company and producer of a wide variety of envelopes and similar products, announced the purchase of Bowers Envelope in Indianapolis, Indiana. This marks the second time in less than a year that Supremex has acquired a US-based envelope manufacturer (see The Target Report – October 2015).

Newspaper Publishing & Printing

The local community newspaper publishing business continues to churn as family-owned papers, many with histories that extend back to the 1800’s, struggle to survive the steady decline in readership and advertising spend devoted to local print. In Vermont, The Rutland Herald and associated papers were saved from almost certain closure by Maine entrepreneur Reade Brower, owner of MaineToday Media which publishes several papers in Maine and also the owner of Alliance Press, a related commercial printing company. In a drama that was played out in the pages of its own newspapers, the acquired company missed payrolls, bounced checks and then fired its news editor after he authorized the publication of a story questioning the company’s financial position.

In a similar, but less dramatic turn of events in Kansas, local newspaper entrepreneur Joey Young, who owns several local newspapers, swooped in and purchased the Herington Times only five days after the owners had announced to the staff that the paper was closing.

Paddock Publications, publisher of suburban Chicago paper The Daily Herald, and others, purchased five daily newspapers and seven weeklies, all serving Southern Illinois. The seller was GateHouse Media, which in turn had itself only one day earlier purchased Fayetteville Publishing, publisher of The Fayetteville Observer, the oldest surviving local newspaper in North Carolina. The purchase included the company’s headquarters building and production plant, the commercial printing division, and multiple websites.

Signature Offset, a national multi-plant printer of many newspapers, inserts and publications, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, was sold to an unnamed investment group which immediately shut down the company’s printing plant in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The website has been rebranded ICSO, LLC and appears to still be a work-in-progress as the company rebrands.

2016 August - 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


Firespring No Data Lincoln, NE Jacob North Media Solutions
(Div. Midstates Group)
No Data Lincoln, NE 8/30/16 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
Supremex $154.4 LaSalle, QC Bowers Envelope No Data Indianapolis, IN 8/30/16 No Data Acquisition Envelope manufacturer Link
J.S. McCarthy Printers No Data Augusta, ME Artco No Data Canton, MA 8/29/16 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
Arbor Investments No Data Chicago, IL Dunn Paper
(Port co. Wingate Partners)
No Data Port Huron, MI 8/29/16 No Data Acquisition Specialty paper mills Link
Delfortgroup No Data Traun, Austria Shamrock Specialty Papers
(Port co. Shamrock Capital)
No Data Greensboro, NC 8/26/16 No Data Acquisition Specialty papers Link
Woods Printing No Data Holland, IN  Oaks Printing No Data Evansville, IN 8/22/16 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
SBR/Vision Graphics No Data Salt Lake City, UT Universal Color Graphics No Data Las Vegas, NV 8/18/16 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
Joey Young
(Affil. Hillsboro Free Press)
No Data Hillsboro, KS Herrington Times No Data Herington, KS 8/16/16 No Data Acquisition Community newspaper Link
Resilience Capital Partners No Data Cleveland, OH
(Port co. Arsenal Capital)
No Data Jersey City, NJ 8/11/16 No Data Acquisition Printing & document mngt. Link
Reade Brower
(Affil. MaineToday Media)
No Data Camden, ME The Rutland Herald
Barre-Montpelier Times Argus
No Data Rutland, VT 8/11/16 No Data Acquisition Community newspapers Link
Advent International No Data Boston, MA Fort Dearborn
(Port co. KRG Capital)
No Data Elk Grove, IL 8/11/16 No Data Acquisition Label printing Link
Firespring No Data Lincoln, NE Deposit a Gift No Data New York, NY 8/9/16 No Data Acquisition Crowdfunding platform Link
Inovar Packaging Group
(Port co. AEA Investors)
No Data Arlington, TX Murray Label & Packaging No Data Dallas, TX 8/9/16 No Data Acquisition Labels & flexible packaging Link
Inovar Packaging Group
(Port co. AEA Investors)
No Data Arlington, TX 21st Century Labels & Packaging No Data Davie, FL 8/9/16 No Data Acquisition Labels & folding cartons Link
Inovar Packaging Group
(Port co. AEA Investors)
No Data Arlington, TX SafePrints No Data Miami, FL 8/9/16 No Data Acquisition Labels & shrink sleeves Link
Double E
(Port co. Incline Equity Partners)
No Data Pittsburgh, PA Appleton Mfg. Division No Data Neehan, WI 8/9/16 No Data Acquisition Web accessories Link
Mac Papers No Data Jacksonville, FL Higdon Paper & Packaging No Data Birmingham, AL 8/8/16 No Data Acquisition Paper distribution Link
Sun Chemical
(Div. Dainippon Ink & Chemicals)
$7,500 Parsippany, NJ Gravure Ink Business (Europe)
(Div. Flint Group)
$2,502 Luxembourg 8/5/16 No Data Acquisition Gravure inks Link
WBM Office Systems No Data Saskatoon, SK PrinterWorks No Data Vancouver, BC 8/4/16 No Data Acquisition Managed print services Link
Cefla Finishing $494.0 Imola, Italy JetSet Industrial $2.2 Bergamo, Italy 8/4/16 No Data Acquisition Specialty inkjet equipment Link
Deluxe $1,810 Shoreview, MN InkHead.com No Data Winder, GA 8/4/16 No Data Acquisition Promotional products Link
Falfurrias Capital No Data Charlotte, NC Green Distribution No Data Secaucus, NJ 8/3/16 No Data Acquisition Textile printing Link
Paddock Publications No Data Arlington Heights, IL Southern IL Newspapers
(GateHouse Media properties)
No Data Pittsford, NY 8/2/16 No Data Acquisition Local newspapers Link
ICSO No Data Boulder, CO Signature Offset No Data Boulder, CO 8/2/16 No Data Acquisition Newspaper printing Link
GateHouse Media
(Div. New Media Investment)
No Data Pittsford, NY Fayetteville Publishing No Data Fayetteville, NC 8/1/16 $18.0 Acquisition Local newspaper Link

2016 August - 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 --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Majestic Greeting Card Co., Inc. 8/23/16 No Data 16-21541 Boynton Beach, FL 11th Southern FL
W. Palm Beach
Erik P. Kimball Robert C. Furr Greeting cards

2016 August - 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


Publishers Press 1/1/17 No Data Shepardsville, KY None N/A 8/17/16 Consolidating ops in Lebanon Junction, KY Link
Inserts USA / Skyline Media Pkg. 9/22/16 No Data Chicago, IL None N/A Aug-16 Binding and finishing Link
Signature Offset - Printing facility 8/2/16 No Data Las Cruces, NM Signature Offset Boulder, CO Aug-16 Sale of co. and plant closure Link