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Nationwide Acquires PAA Companies

September 2002
DARIEN, CT—The Printing Arts America (PAA) rollup of commercial printers, collected during the heyday of industry consolidation in the late 1990s, has been divested.

Nationwide Graphics announced it has acquired Classic Printing of Nashville, TN; AIM Riverside Press of Pompano Beach, FL; and Printing Arts Houston from PAA, which had filed for Chapter 11 reorganizational protection last November. Nationwide is also now part owner of Miami-based Original Impressions, with Roland Garcia—founder of the company—as majority owner.

Recently, Houston-based Consolidated Graphics acquired Baltimore-based S&S Graphics, while Printing Arts Chicago was reacquired by William J. Chmura—its previous owner—and John Ropski.

The other PAA companies—Bay State Press, Framingham, MA; George Lithograph, Brisbane, CA; and Oaks Printing, Bethlehem, PA—have been closed and liquidated. Printing Arts Dallas, Euless, TX; and Printing Arts Mexico in Guadalajara, Mexico, were previously reacquired by their original owners.

PAA was formed in 1998 with the backing of middle-market investor Kohlberg & Co., under the direction of 1999 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Famer Terry Tevis. The company reported sales of $207 million for the previous year on the 2001 Printing Impressions 400 rankings, earning a spot in the top 50.

The debt that accrued in financing the purchase of the 11 companies, coupled with a stagnant 2001 economy, forced PAA into bankruptcy. Marion Antonini, an operating principal with Kohlberg who succeeded Tevis as CEO at PAA, left in 2001. Joe Ahearn of Pilgrim Associates then became restructuring officer during bankruptcy proceedings. Harris DeWese, of Compass Capital Partners, was engaged to provide valuation and M&A services during the transactions.

Ironically, it was Consolidated Graphics and Nationwide Graphics that acquired some of the remaining PAA printing companies. PAA and Master Graphics made headlines, along with the aforementioned Consolidated and Nationwide, to help spark the consolidation movement of the late 1990s.

Master Graphics, now known as Premier Print Holdings, filed and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Carl Norton, chairman and CEO of Nationwide Graphics, and Jerry Hyde, vice chairman and senior vice president, were contracted to manage Premier Print Holdings—Norton as CEO, Hyde as president.
 

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