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Mack Attack! Cadmus, the Conqueror

May 1999
With its recent acquisition of the Mack Printing Group tucked away, Cadmus looks to conquer greater territories in select, niche markets—with an eye on journals, magazines, periodicals and packaging. What is the vision behind Cadmus' strategic plan? C. Stephenson Gillispie Jr. offers a few clues.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


THE START of Spring marked the start of what may be the most lucrative of years for Cadmus Communications, which, on April 1st, announced it had acquired Mack Printing Group—a leading producer of journals, magazines and periodicals with annual revenues of approximately $165 million—for the purchase price of approximately $200 million, consisting of cash, seller-provided subordinated debt and Cadmus common stock.

There is no April fool here.

The acquisition of Mack Printing increases Cadmus' annual revenues by more than 40 percent and solidifies its position as a global producer of scientific, technical and medical journals.

While major, Mack has not been Cadmus' only big news of late—weeks earlier, Cadmus agreed to sell its Financial Printing and Custom Publishing divisions to R.R. Donnelley & Sons.

Just weeks before the Mack move, Cadmus officials reached an agreement to sell the two divisions, claiming these divestitures were part of an ongoing strategy to streamline the company's business units and focus its resources in select, niche markets. Immediately following the sale, Cadmus execs reported that the company was now poised for extreme growth for 1999 and well into 2000.

C. Stephenson Gillispie Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Cadmus Communications, is the man behind the moves.

Recently, Printing Impressions had the good fortune of catching up with Gillispie. In the final days of the Mack acquisition, Gillispie was good enough to answer a series of questions regarding the Mack move; the role Cadmus is pushing to play in the periodicals segment; his thoughts on the financial market; the hype surrounding all the consolidation making waves in the industry today; the looming threat of e-commerce; and the strategic significance of digital prepress and more.

PI: Cadmus recently engaged in transactions that mark a new milestone in the company's strategy to create leading businesses in select, niche markets. Your company sold its financial and custom publishing divisions and purchased The Mack Printing Group. It seems as though Cadmus is narrowing its focus and concentrating on select, core markets. What's the game plan for Cadmus?

Gillispie: Cadmus is following a systematic process to develop leading positions in markets where we can expect profitable growth. We have developed very specific criteria about the nature of the markets that we think will offer the best and most profitable growth.
 

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