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Acquisition Pace Picks Up After Spring Lull

July 1999
LISLE, IL—Just when the breakneck pace of commercial printing industry acquisitions was slowing, the lull came to a resounding end with yet another spate of new purchases.

Perhaps the biggest news was that, after months of regrouping, Wallace Computer Services, based here, returned to its acquisition course, acquiring Commercial Press, reportedly the largest commercial printer in San Diego. Commercial Press has 200 employees and projected sales this year of $26 million.

The addition brings Wallace up to 25 commercial printing facilities throughout the United States.

Mike Duffield, Wallace's president and COO, says Commercial's "profitability is strong, plus there is additional capacity that can be filled by our contract customers."

All of Commercial Press' staffers, in its commercial and instant printing divisions, are expected to remain.

Houston-based Consolidated Graphics kept up its acquisition pace, acquiring Apple Graphics, a 27-year-old Los Angeles-based commercial printer. Kevin Polley, president, and Nancy Bremer, general manager, will continue with the company.

Huntington, WV-based Champion Industries says its subsidiary, Smith & Butterfield of Evansville, IN, signed an agreement by which Independent Printing Service (IPS), also of Evansville, will become part of the Smith & Butterfield operation.

Champion Chairman Marshall T. Reynolds called this "a second step in our drive to increase our printing business in the tri-state area of Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana."

IPS founder and President Gary Walther will remain with the company.

Also adding to a long list of acquisitions was Englewood, CO-based Mail-Well, which has acquired San Francisco-based Forman Lithograph and Avon Behren Printing, of San Antonio, TX.

Notes Gerald F. Mahoney, chairman and CEO of Mail-Well: "These two acquisitions will impact our organization well beyond their combined annual sales of approximately $11 million."

Des Plaines, IL-based Schawk Inc., meanwhile, signed a letter of intent to acquire Cactus Imaging Centres, of Toronto, a US$3.5 million, large-format digital imaging specialist.

Jersey City, NJ-based Cunningham Graphics International has completed the acquisition of Bengal Graphics, located in "printer's row" on Varick Street in New York City. Al Nussbaum, the founder and president of Bengal Graphics, will continue to be responsible for the overall operations of Bengal Graphics.

Management expects Bengal Graphics' 1999 revenues to be in excess of $6 million in 1999.

And in the world of book manufacturing, American Business Products has sold off the business and assets of its Chelsea, MI-based BookCrafters USA subsidiary to The Sheridan Group.

BookCrafters will be integrated with Braun-Brumfield, another Sheridan Group company in Ann Arbor, MI, to form a new company known as Sheridan Books Inc.


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