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Midsummer Lull Ends With New Flurry of Activity

September 1998
HOUSTON—The heat of midsummer seemed to have slowed the ongoing acquisition fever in the graphic arts business, but as summer winds down and executives return from vacation, a new spate of acquisition announcements has arrived.

Consolidated Graphics, based here, led the pack, signing letters of intent to acquire five new companies. Four of the new acquisitions—McKay Press in Midland, MI, Royle Communications in Sun Prairie, WI, Graphtec in Annapolis Junction, MD, and Printing Corp. of America in Baltimore— were acquired in one transaction led by Radnor, PA-based Compass Capital Partners. Only days later Consolidated signed another deal to acquire Bloomington, IL-based Metropolitan Printing Service.

Upon completion of pending acquisitions, Consolidated will have 47 companies nationwide with annualized revenues in excess of $555 million.

Somewhat of a surprise was the announcement out of Waterloo, WI, that Perry Judd's had sold Baltimore-based Port City Press, a technical journal and reference directory printing operation, to Easton, PA-based Mack Printing. Port City was acquired 10 months ago as part of the deal in which Perry acquired Judd's Inc.

"For Mack, this represents their first major acquisition following a recapitalization in 1997," notes Gregg Feinstein, a principal at the New York-based financial services firm of Berenson Minella & Co., which advised Perry Judd's in the deal.

"For Perry Judd's, this was a logical move that will allow them to dedicate all their management time and financial resources to their core publication and catalog segments," Feinstein adds.

Englewood, CO-based Mail-Well is also back in the acquisition hunt. It has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Florida sheetfed printer Graphics Illustrated and its affiliate Digital X-Press, and Mississauga, Ontario's McLaren, Morris and Todd Ltd., a US$34 million web and sheetfed operation specializing in consumer products labels, direct mail literature and general printing.

Back in New York, Unidigital signed an agreement to acquire MegaArt Corp., a national producer of large-format, digitally printed graphics. When the sale is complete, MegaArt will become part of Unidigital's Unison division and will remain an autonomous business unit.

Unison currently supports customers in the retail, trade show, transit and outdoor advertising markets, from facilities in New York, San Francisco and Boston. MegaArt is best known for the development and production of banners, some over 30,000 square feet. Udi Aloni, MegaArt's founder, will continue as president of the company.

Memphis, TN-based Master Graphics, which only weeks ago became a public company, has joined the acquisition hunt. It has signed a letter of intent to acquire Huntsville, AL-based Golden Rule Printing, a general commercial sheetfed company that often does work in the compact disc and software packaging niche. Master Graphics currently has 11 divisions located across the country.


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