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Springtime Questions Abound

April 2003
By Erik Cagle

What I don't understand could fill a book. Or at least a column. For our intent, a column will suffice.

The following subjects continue to confound and amaze me. Well...they don't, really, but it helps to make the prose airtight and concise. Who needs a crock of rambling, waffling and fence walking that does nothing but take up space and make the reader yearn for Beetle Bailey and the funny pages? Not me, and certainly not you, gentle reader. Without further delay, a couple of issues affecting the industry and housing availability in the Philadelphia region.

BARBARIANS AT THE C DRIVE: Can someone tell me what the heck happened during the last week of February? You know, the whole blowup involving software concerns Creo, Printcafe and EFI?

Creo had been longing for Printcafe; the two had been good friends and nothing had evolved past the casual dating phase, despite some heavy investments Creo made with 'Cafe. But when Creo was ready for a long-term commitment, along comes Electronics for Imaging, waving $2.60 per share under 'Cafe's nose. That began the first of several stages that characterize a messy breakup:

1. Denial. Creo CEO Amos Michelson pens a well-worded letter to 'Cafe CEO Marc Olin, expressing deep disappointment at the latter's adoption of a poison pill, as well as 'Cafe's decision to only court EFI after telling Creo that it would evaluate all offers for the Pittsburgh-based company.

2. Rejection. Creo brings the matter to the Chancery Court in Delaware, charging that these actions prevent 'Cafe's shareholders from realizing the greatest share value. The court refuses to grant a temporary injunction.

3. Bargaining. Shortly after the court refused to act, Creo upped its bid to $3 per share.

4. Acceptance. Creo withdraws its bid, 'Cafe takes EFI's offer of $2.60 per share.

It may be Springtime, but love is not always in the air.

BEING BOB BURTON: For a long time, ever since he took the reins at Moore Corp. and whipped it into shape, I'd relished the thought of interviewing Robert Burton, he of World Color fame and known throughout the industry for making chicken salad out of chicken crap.

In fact, it was a done deal. Burton and Moore Corp. would grace the cover of our February issue. A personal rep for Burton took the train to Philly for a lunch overview with myself and Editor-in-Chief Mark Michelson. This was exciting; Burton had a reputation of being a hardscrabble manager; a badass who unflinchingly made the tough calls when it came time to cut away gristle from the tenderloin. We would ask him some tough questions and pull no punches when it comes to asking him how many eggs he breaks while making his omelet.

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