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MSI Piecing Together the Puzzle

December 1998
NEW YORK—It's unclear whether or not Jeff Riback is fond of assembling puzzles of 500 pieces or more, but it's easy to see the president and CEO of Metro Seliger Industries (MSI) is a big fan of the three-piece interlocking variety.

As of press time, the Manhattan-based (and soon to be Carlstadt, NJ, headquartered) company, part of communications giant Havas Advertising, was set to close on a deal that would add Data Communique to the fold.

MSI had reached a definitive agreement that would absorb Data Communique, a specialist in electronic publishing and customized document solutions, only a few months after its acquisition of Waldon Press, a typesetting, web and sheetfed printing company.

"Each piece of the puzzle fits together," Riback notes of the acquisitions. "We have put together a business that offers front-end document publishing, production and distribution. The Waldon piece is the output engine portion of the model."

Waldon gives MSI added print firepower, according to Riback, in areas such as traditional web and sheetfed printing. Add in Data Communique's document publishing services—and its focus in the mutual fund industry—and MSI's mailing and fulfillment distribution end (along with sheetfed printing and digital on-demand printing and personalization capabilities), and the puzzle is complete.

"We can take a customer's idea and turn it into a new, formatted document, produce that document and distribute it to our customer's audience," Riback says.

The Waldon deal was concluded at the end of this past summer while the Data Communique acquisition was slated to be finalized in late November. Negotiations for both companies lasted approximately four months.

The company's production facilities will now be concentrated into the new location in Carlstadt, NJ. The move was already underway, as the mailing portion of MSI was relocated to the new 60,000-square-foot plant. Riback stresses that the company will still maintain a New York office for functions including sales, customer service and typesetting.

The synergy will result in internal expansion for the company. Riback notes that additional jobs will create new opportunities for its employees as well as the maintenance of the company's current full complement.

Riback envisions the new company as a leader in providing document publishing and production services.

"The big guys, the traditional large printers, haven't been able to necessarily put all of the services under one roof and also provide a high level of service," he says.

"They're traditionally cookie-cutter type shops; you have to do it their way on their schedule. We are able to provide unique solutions using technology to streamline the customer's document publishing time frame. What that does is free up our customers administratively and it frees up their budgets."

Riback conceived the three-legged stool, as he calls it, two years ago and has worked toward the goal ever since. He hasn't ruled out the possibility of adding additional companies to the mix.

"Future acquisitions will lean toward companies that can be synergistic for what we're doing, what we add to the mix, that can help provide broader, stronger services to our customers," Riback says.

By Erik Cagle


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