A New Player Enters the Consolidation Competition

“This merger gives both organizations the critical mass and service breadth to grow more quickly as we leverage our mutual customer relationships,” adds Bruce Schulz, president of Watt/Peterson-Cimarron.

The Minnesota facilities of both Watt/Peterson and Cimarron are located here, in Brainerd and in Marshall; both firms are privately held. The combined entity employs 251. Watt/Peterson was founded in 1963. Cimarron Printing was formed in 1998 through the acquisitions of Gesme Printing in Marshall and Universal Printing in Brainerd and in Shakopee, MN.

“Our salespeople have been walking by business we didn’t even know was there,” he explains. “Cimarron is really into direct mail, and when our salespeople told customers we could now provide it, suddenly they were asking them to give quotes on it.”

As the company looks for new acquisitions, it will follow the same strategy it used in this first one, Watt explains.

“We’ll be looking at companies that offer anything we don’t have now,” he says. “Cimarron has letterset and spiral binding and heatset web; [Watt-Peterson] never had those before. Similarly, we’ll be looking for larger heatset web capabilities, perhaps a label printer, a packaging printer. The candidates we’ll be most interested in will be the ones that will help us offer new products and services.”

Watt adds that companies offering similar capabilities, but which will extend Printing Partners of America’s reach into new geographical regions, will also be considered.

The key to success, he says, will be avoiding what he perceives as the pitfalls that some other consolidators, especially those that have gone public, have fallen into.

“They’ve come to see everything in terms of adding to the bottom line,” he observes. “The emphasis is on the stock price. They’ve lost their focus and forgotten who is paying the bill. The customer demands attention, but that’s not the attitude that’s flowing from the top.”

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