2005 Market outlook year in review — Cheers to 2004

by chris bauer

Managing Editor

Merger and acquisition activity. Monster trade shows. New faces in high places. The luck of the draw. It all adds up to just another year in the commercial printing industry. Let’s take a look back at how the year 2004 played out, and who made headlines during the past 12 months.

The year started out on shaky ground for the industry, with rumors that Heidelberg planned to sell off its web systems business and digital printing division, as well as reduce its worldwide work force by up to 1,000 employees.

Eventually, the whispers became a reality as the other players in these deals were revealed. Heidelberg’s web systems business was purchased by Goss International and Eastman Kodak gobbled up Heidelberg’s 50 percent stake in the digital division. Heidelberg announced it would concentrate on the sheetfed offset printing market and its related value chain.

This was not the only big move in the graphic arts market for Eastman Kodak. The company also signed an agreement to acquire the assets and business of Scitex Digital Printing for $250 million in cash.

In another mega-deal announced in the beginning of the year, FedEx acquired Kinko’s in a $2.4 billion cash deal. Kinko’s is now able to offer new or expanded FedEx shipping options at all 1,200 locations worldwide. Prior to the deal, only 134 stores had staffed FedEx counters.

Later in the year, FedEx purchased Quad/Graphics’ Parcel Direct division for $120 million.

Not to be outdone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (DLJMBP), an affiliate of Credit Suisse First Boston’s Alternative Capital Division, announced a series of transactions with an aggregate value of approximately $2.2 billion.

This created a unique specialty printing and marketing services enterprise under the leadership of former Quebecor World Chairman and CEO Marc Reisch.

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