RRD Nets Banta in Shocker

MENASHA, WI—When the clock ticked down to the October 31 deadline imposed by Cenveo Chairman and CEO Bob Burton for Banta Corp. to accept Burton’s “best and final” $50 per share offer to purchase Banta, a second suitor stepped out of the shadows and snatched up the publication printing and supply chain specialist—RR Donnelley (RRD).

Donnelley will shell out $1.3 billion, or $36.50 per share after the $16 special dividend previously declared by Banta. It represents $2.50 more per share than the $34 post-dividend offer made by Cenveo. The deal, announced October 31, is subject to approval by the respective board of directors for each company and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.

Stephanie Streeter, Banta’s chairman and CEO, will remain with the organization until the transaction closes but will not play a role in the combined entity.

Streeter and Banta officially rejected Burton’s $47 a share offer on October 3, and the Cenveo leader promptly raised his bid to $50 a share, or $1.21 billion. At that time, Streeter said the company would revisit its own strategic initiatives for maximizing shareholder value. When Banta did not respond to the offer, Burton fired off an October 19 letter stating, “I do not plan to blink and increase our proposal.”

It was a busy month for Banta, with Streeter announcing which operations would be impacted by the company’s cost-cutting measures. Its Eden Prairie, MN, book plant will close by year’s end, resulting in the loss of 72 jobs. The Spanish Fork, UT, literature management and fulfillment facility will also be shuttered before 2006 ends, leaving 17 out of work.

Banta is offering its direct marketing printing facility located in Danbury, CT, for sale. With 200 employees, its general commercial focus is said to no longer align with Banta’s specialized and highly personalized direct marketing emphasis.

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