Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Impact XM Adds Gamification to Exhibits & Events – January 2018 M&A Activity

The acquisition of Endo Networks by AGI Partners’ portfolio company Impact XM brings interactive technology to the company’s services. These include design and production of trade show exhibits, event spaces and branded environments. The acquired company uses technology in the form of graphically-enhanced tablets, PC’s and monitors to attract (or in Endo’s term, “intercept”) attendees, engage participation through contests, gifts and coupons, and entertain with participatory games (or via what Endo calls “gamification”). The Endo technology solutions are being bolted-on to the Impact XM platform which describes itself as an “Experiential Marketing Agency” producing trade show exhibits, sponsored event environments, and shopping venues that combine bold graphics and technology to tell stories on behalf of their clients.

This is the second add-on transaction for Impact XM, backed by AGI Partners, having in July of 2017 acquired Atlantic Exhibits which specialized in trade show exhibits, museum and corporate interior design and build services. Impact XM itself was formed when AGI Partners acquired New Jersey-based Impact Unlimited in 2015 and merged it with its existing portfolio company Aura XM.

As an integrated provider of technology-based branded environments, the Impact XM platform hits all of “GAA’s four D’s of value,” the factors that we believe drive higher enterprise values in today’s market for print-centric graphic communication companies. The company’s offerings include Design, combined with Data services, are focused on retail Display output (i.e. wide format) and are produced primarily utilizing Digital printing technologies. With all four D’s combined in one platform, Impact XM looks like a home-run in the making. (For our prior thoughts on the retail display segment see The Target Report – January 2016).

Wide Format and Display Printing

Wisconsin-based Great Northern, a custom manufacturer of temporary and semi-permanent in-store displays that promote products in retail locations, has acquired United Displaycraft. The acquired company, located in Chicago, designs and manufactures metal, wire, wood and printed permanent in-store displays. United Displaycraft also brings interactive technology and digital printing to its new owner.

West-Camp Press, located in Westerville, Ohio, announced the acquisition of grand and large format printing company CSP Graphics. The acquired company, based in Cleveland, is the official preferred display graphics partner for the Cleveland Browns and the team’s stadium. The acquisition is the second for West-Camp in seven months, having last summer acquired American Colorscans in Columbus, Ohio. Originally a color separator, back when such companies still existed, American Colorscans evolved into a large format screen printer and grand format digital printer.

AlphaGraphics Seattle, a full-service commercial printer with four retail locations and a central production hub located in a stunning location on the Puget Sound right next to the Olympic Sculpture Park and a few short blocks from the Space Needle, acquired Stella Color. The acquired company specializes in wide-format printing.

Not all is rosy in wide-format printing, however. At the lower end of the market, companies serving the high-volume low-margin segments such as food and grocery are facing pricing pressure. Run quantities are being reduced as retailers close locations and strive to compete with online sellers. Windsor Marketing Group, located in north central Connecticut, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, less than a year and half after finally completing its massive 250,000 square foot facility.

Printing Equipment 

Chester Carlson, inventor, with the first commercial 
XeroX machine, Fortune Magazine 1949
(Note the hotplate used to fuse the toner to the paper) 

Deal activity remains brisk for companies that produce equipment used in the printing and paper processing industries (see The Target Report – September 2017). Fujifilm Holdings announced the acquisition of Xerox Corporation, the venerable US-based inventor and one time world-leader in toner-based printing machines. The disappearance of Xerox as an American icon comes almost exactly one year to the date after Xerox split itself in two, spinning off the business outsourcing company it acquired in 2009. That acquisition arguably never quite fit the document-centric Xerox, and may very well be responsible for the company’s eventual failure to remain an independent force in the digital printing industry that it effectively created. In a rather convoluted transaction, Fujifilm Holdings is selling its Fuji Xerox joint venture to Xerox, then acquiring a controlling interest in the newly combined entity, after which it will be renamed Fuji Xerox. 

Muller Martini, based in Switzerland, announced the acquisition of the perfect binding and related bookbinding machinery business of longtime rival Germany-based Kolbus. The business taken over by Muller Martini will remain in the same town as Kolbus, with all engineering talent and other employees to be located in a separate plant from their former colleagues. Kolbus will retain its case-binding and packaging equipment business, as well as its foundry operation that dates back to 1775.

Bell and Howell, a portfolio company of private equity fund Versa Capital Management, strengthened its position in the mail processing industry with the acquisition of Gunther International. The acquired company manufactures high-volume, high-page-count intelligent mail inserters with software designed to guarantee integrity of the processed mail.

2018 January - 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


Xitron No Data Ann Arbor, MI
(Div. Global Graphics Software)
No Data Cambridge, UK 1/31/18 No Data Acquisition Print imaging software Link
Wheeling Newspapers
(Affil. Ogden Newspapers)
No Data Wheeling, WV Charleston Gazette-Mail
(Prop. The Daily Gazette Co.)
No Data Charleston, WV 1/31/18 $11.3 363 Sale in Ch. 11 Local Newspaper Link
Fujifilm Holdings $50,610 Tokyo, Japan Xerox $10,260 Norwalk, CT 1/31/18 $6,100 Acquisition Digital printing equipment Link
DemandBridge No Data Norcross, GA Kramer-Smilko No Data Bel Air, MD 1/30/18 No Data Acquisition
(Corp Dev Assoc)
Print distributor software Link
Minuteman Press Encinitas No Data Encinitas, CA Minuteman Press Sorrento Valley No Data Sorrento Valley, CA 1/29/18 No Data Acquisition Printing & copying Link
GateHouse Media
(Div. New Media Investment)
$1,280 Pittsford, NY Eugene Register-Guard
(Prop. RG Media Company)
No Data Eugene, OR 1/29/18 No Data Acquisition
(Dirks, Van Essen)
Metro newspaper Link
Muller Martini No Data Zofingen, Switzerland Bookbinding business
(Div. Kolbus)
No Data Rahden, Germany 1/29/18 No Data Acquisition Bookbinding equipment Link
WestRock $15,310 Norcross, GA KapStone Paper & Packaging $3,230 Northbrook, IL 1/29/18 $4,900 Acquisition Kraft & corrugated products Link
AlphaGraphics Seattle No Data Seattle, WA Stella Color No Data Seattle, WA 1/29/18 No Data Acquisition Wide format printing Link
Impact XM
(Port co. AGI Partners)
No Data Dayton, NJ Endo Networks No Data Oakville, ON 1/23/18 No Data Acquisition Interactive displays Link
Sun Chemical
(Div. Dainippon Ink & Chemicals)
$7,500 Parsippany, NJ C.T.LAY No Data Modena, Italy 1/22/18 No Data Acquisition Security overlays Link
Drummond Press No Data Jacksonville, FL Sunbelt Printing No Data Marietta, GA 1/15/18 No Data Acquisition Commercial printing Link
(Port co. Pritzker Group)
No Data Cincinnati, OH Bonita Pioneer Packaging Products No Data Portland, OR 1/9/18 No Data Acquisition Bags & folding cartons Link
West-Camp Press No Data Westerville, OH CSP Graphics No Data Cleveland, OH 1/8/18 No Data Acquisition Display graphics Link
Midland Paper / Mngt. Team No Data Wheeling, IL Midland Paper $1,000 Wheeling, IL 1/5/18 No Data Mngt. Buyout Paper distribution Link
Bell and Howell
(Port Co. Versa Capital Mngt.)
No Data Research Triangle Park, NC Gunther International No Data Norwich, CT 1/4/18 No Data Acquisition Mail inserters Link
Essence Ventures No Data New York, NY Essence Magazine
(Prop Time, Inc.)
No Data New York, NY 1/3/18 No Data Acquisition Magazine publishing Link
H.I.G. Capital No Data Miami, FL Digital Room
(Port co. Insight Ventures)
No Data Van Nuys, CA 1/3/18 No Data Acquisition Ecommerce printing sites Link
Great Northern No Data Appleton, WI United Displaycraft No Data Des Plaines, IL 1/2/18 No Data Acquisition Retail display Link

2018 January - Bankruptcy Filings in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

Filing Party

($Mil )

Case #

Filing Party Address


Region & City


Attorney for Debtor

Chapter 11 Filings:
Daily Gazetter Company 1/30/18 No Data 18-20028 Charleston, WV 4th Southern WV
Frank W. Volk Joe. M. Supple Local newspaper
Unified Graphics & Signs, LLC 1/17/18 No Data 18-40196 Fort Worth, TX 5th Northern TX
Fort Worth
Mark X. Mullin H Joseph Acosta  Screen printing
Penthouse Global Media, Inc. 1/11/18 No Data 18-10098 Los Angeles, CA 9th Central CA
Woodland Hills
Martin R. Barash Michael H Weiss  Magazine publisher
Windsor Marketing Group, Inc. 1/8/18 No Data 18-20022 Suffield, CT  2nd Connecticut
James J. Tancredi James Berman  Retail display
Conlon Press, Incorporated 1/4/18 No Data 18-40030 Bellingham, WA 9th Northern CA
William J. Lafferty John H. Carmichael  Art prints
The Current Newspapers, Inc. 1/3/18 No Data 18-00006 Washington, DC 4th District of Columbia S. Martin Teel, Jr. Philip McNutt  Local newspaper
Chapter 7 Filings:
Digital Ink Inc 1/5/18 No Data 18-30056 Richmond, VA 4th Eastern VA
Kevin R. Huennekens W. Scott Dillard, II  Water-based inks

2018 January - 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


Montague-Spragens Printers & Lithographers 2/13/18 No Data Redding, CA None N/A 2/13/18 Commercial Printing Link