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DeWese--Something to Say About M&A

October 1998
This is column number 154. One five four! They don't call me old Rhetoric Breath for nothin'. It also marks my 14th anniversary writing for Printing Impressions.

By the time you read this column, a whole bunch of people, including yours truly, will be in Chicago at GRAPH EXPO. I'm being inducted into the Soderstrom Society during GRAPH EXPO, and, if I'm not mistaken, you will have to start calling me "Sir Mañana Man" or maybe it's "Lord Mañana Man." The Soderstrom Society is kind of like being knighted or something, I think.

There's lots of news as I write this. By the time you read it, I'm betting a lot of it will have blown over. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial average has lost about 1,600 points. Now there's some news. I'm betting that by the time GRAPH EXPO rolls around, the Dow will be moving up again and will have regained about 800 points.

More news. Didya hear that the president of these United States has done something awful and has fessed up to it on national TV? I'm predicting that by the time GRAPH EXPO rolls around, the president will announce he is born again and will become the chancellor of Jerry Falwell University when he leaves office.

Meanwhile, I've got a feelin' that Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire will announce that they are going to run for president and vice president. I'll sure be voting for them.

When Sammy and Mark are elected, however, they won't have to worry about the financial crises in the Soviet Union, Japan or all those other Asian Rim and South American countries. I'm betting that Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Seinfeld are going to lend them all enough to erase all their red ink. I'll bet that Oprah and Jerry ask me to join them in the deal when they hear that I got inducted into the Soderstrom Society.

Our industry has its own news, but it never makes the national wire. By the time you read this, more than 130 printing companies will have been acquired so far this year. That is about 30 more companies than all of 1997, and there are two months remaining in 1998. It means about $2.5 billion in sales will have changed hands the first 10 months of 1998. That's big news in the printing industry.

If you are a printing salesperson, you hear the merger and acquisition news. You hear all of the rumors as well. The rumors, incidentally, are passed along primarily by paper salespeople.


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