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Struggling AGT Mulls Selling Out

June 2000
NEW YORK—One of the most prominent players in the graphic arts business is looking into the possibility of selling off its struggling operation.

New York-based Applied Graphics Technologies (AGT), on the heels of widening operating losses due to difficulties with integrating two of the company's recent acquisitions, has appointed a new CEO and engaged an investment banking firm to "explore strategic alternatives to enhance value for its shareholders, including the possible sale of the company," officials say.

The new CEO is Derek Ashley, replacing Fred Drasner, who continues in his role as chairman and will serve as chairman of the executive committee of the board. Ashley joined AGT in May of 1999, following the company's acquisition of Wace Group plc, where he served as group chief executive. Ashley was named vice chairman and CEO of AGT in May of 1999.

"The Board has accepted my recommendation that Derek Ashley take over the responsibilities of CEO," Drasner reports. "As CEO of AGT, Derek has quickly and effectively taken on the day-to-day management of our businesses and led the development of a comprehensive business strategy designed to realize their full potential.

"I am confident that Derek is the right person to lead the implementation of this strategy while I continue to focus on long-term strategic initiatives for the company, including a stronger penetration into Internet and e-commerce support services.'

"Over the past few years, AGT has dramatically transformed itself from a company grounded in its traditional prepress businesses to one that offers the full spectrum of digital media products and services, and media consulting services," Ashley adds.

"Technology has made it possible for companies to use the images that are core to their businesses in new and more advanced ways. It has transformed proprietary images into strategic assets, making their management a business imperative. From creative, advertising and marketing services to digital imaging, color management and print production, there is no company better equipped to help businesses realize the full value of these assets than is AGT. I am excited about my new role and look forward to translating AGT's strengths into benefits.'

Ashley's first job will be to solve the difficulties that have arisen in the integration of Wace and Devon Group. The company reported a net loss of 27 cents a share for the quarter before restructuring and other charges, compared with a loss of 16 cents a share in the year-ago period.
 

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