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QUEBECOR WORLD -- Marriage Made in Heaven

April 2001
BY ERIK CAGLE


Integration is defined as forming into a whole, uniting or incorporating into a larger unit. See: Quebecor World.

It is difficult to put the merger of Quebecor Printing and World Color Press into perspective. The M&A shocker that ushered out 1999 has resulted in the largest commercial printing (et al) conglomerate in North America—the largest in the world. When the final receipts for 2000 were tallied, Quebecor World stood at $6.5 billion in sales. Only R.R. Donnelley & Sons, at $5 billion, was remotely close. The difference between the two could form a company that would rank eighth on the Printing Impressions 400 ranking of the largest printers for 2000.

Despite its sexy financials, Quebecor World is not a press hound that bombards the masses with news of its latest conquest, though you should forgive Montreal-based Quebecor Inc. for crowing just a little about its marriage to World Color. Not surprisingly, Quebecor World spent the last year in virtual silence while going about its integration chores. The company is emerging form its shell bearing a highly structured persona with many levels. In many ways, the hard part—assimilation, elimination of duplication (read: layoffs and plant closings)—is over. In many ways, it's just begun. From top to bottom, the men and women charged with keeping Quebecor World on top of its game appear tenacious to meet the task head on.

"It's an incredibly compelling story and I'm excited for it to get out now," states John Paloian, president of the Magazine/Catalog Group. "I think we're finally ready to tell people about our company."

Marc Reisch is chairman, CEO and president of Quebecor World North America. He was president of World Color Press and held several other roles prior to arriving there in 1991. Aside from Charles Cavell, who is perched high atop the Quebecor World empire, Reisch is arguably the most powerful man in the ink-on-paper business. He also had a bird's eye view of the integration drama.

"From a big-picture standpoint, this was clearly the largest, most complicated transaction in the history of the printing industry," Reisch states. "The good news: we accomplished it more quickly than anybody had anticipated. The opportunities, from a cost standpoint, that we originally estimated came in at twice the level anticipated. All the equipment that we took out of service and had to redeploy has come up well. Customer retention was virtually 100 percent, so the integration went as smoothly as we could have hoped.
 

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