QUEBECOR WORLD — Marriage Made in Heaven
“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.
“Unfortunately, when you bring together two businesses that are as large as ours, there was duplication in various parts of the company—certain markets, certain facilities—so with that came the loss of jobs.”
Reisch estimates that Quebecor World moved more press and bindery equipment within the company during a six-month timeframe than the entire U.S. commercial printing industry would move in a year. Combined. He attributes the smoothness of the transition to the relentless work of each of the company’s eight business units, as well as assistance from third-party sources such as equipment manufacturers. In essence, business as usual transpired in the second half of 2000.
Quebecor World could have patted itself on the back for emerging from the campaign a bigger, stronger and more diversified network of business groups, for which less-than-estimated performance targets could have been rationalized. Yet, its financials easily outperformed the industry circuit.
Reisch doffs his hat to the newly created leadership team, the best and brightest from both companies—imagine the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves merging to create an all-star baseball team. Or, in deference to our northern neighbors, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs in hockey.
While it wasn’t the best of times to be a Quebecor World employee, given the job uncertainty any transaction of this magnitude could create, the company took care of its people. An attractive, uniform, company-wide employee benefit program was rolled out at the end of 2000. This included upgrades to the 401(k) retirement plan and an employee stock purchase plan.