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Class Is Now in Session —DeWese

April 2010

WELCOME TO the campus of Mañana University.

I am your dean and also one of your professors.

You are here to earn your "PhD" in the sale of print communications and related services. When you have completed the course successfully, everyone will call you Doctor.

Your unworthy sleazy competitors will have to bow down and call you Madam, Sir, or your Ladyship or your Lordship.

Your best friends, your customers, will call you to pick up the orders. Your other best friends, at the IRS, will call you with thanks for sending the big tax check.

This a first-ever educational institution located within the pages of a magazine. It is innovative. It is creative. It is educational. And it is hard work.

I explained the rationale for founding Mañana University in the March edition of Printing Impressions. I'm not going to waste space restating those reasons. If you must know, go back and re-read my March column.

The number of firms comprising the print communications industry has been shrinking since the late 1980s. As companies disappear, so do sales positions. In 1989, there were approximately 53,000 printing companies of all shapes and sizes, serving many very different markets. Twenty years later, there are approximately 30,000 establishments still remaining.

Successful Behavior

If we assume that each company employed an average of two salespeople, then the army of sales professionals has shrunk from about 100,000 to 60,000 individuals. And 60,000 is probably too high a figure. I also wonder what those other 40,000 people are doing now.

So, our potential student body enrollment is 60,000, but I know better. Maybe 6,000 salespeople will actually show up for class, and they will be among those still working by the time the number of printing establishments drops to 20,000.

This curriculum is difficult, though, because printing companies are not alike. They serve different markets, with different equipment, in different geographies, producing different products, with different owners who pay different compensation.

I'll put it another way: A salesperson who works for a pharmaceutical label printing company has a very different job description than a salesperson who sells for a general commercial printer.

It becomes even more difficult when you consider a salesperson's job description for a company with annual revenues of $2 million located in a city with 50,000 residents versus a company with annual sales of $20 million in a metropolis of one million people. The smaller company is likely to have an average order of $1,200 versus $5,000 for the larger company.

Free M&A Service

Printing Impressions and Compass Capital are providing a complimentary service for readers who seek to sell their companies and for those looking to acquire other businesses. All additions to this list must be submitted by the applicant's CEO or CFO to Likewise, respondents to any listing below should direct their inquiry to the same e-mail address. We will then pass it along to the selling or buying party.

This service is free, and does not require any type of engagement agreement with Compass Capital. Printing Impressions is providing this space as an industry service, but accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the statements shown below.

Businesses for Sale

• $7 million Web and Sheetfed printer is located in major coastal Southeastern market.

• $6 million General Commercial printer in the Midwest/Northeast operates Full-size Sheetfed and Full-size Heatset Web equipment.

• $27 million Sheetfed and Digital printer in large Texas city seeks strategic or financial buyer. New equipment. Strong sales and management teams.

• $10 million General Commercial shop in the Southwest operates Sheetfed and Web equipment.

• $26 million Sheetfed and Digital printing company serves a major metropolitan market where it enjoys the leading market share.

• $4-$5 million Sheetfed company in Mountain West produces high-end color work.

• $9 million Digital and Sheetfed graphic communications company serves a major market, and is profitable.

• $4 million Sheetfed company pro–duces high-end color work.

• $7 million Sheetfed company in Midwest seeks a buyer.

Businesses Wanted

• $2 million Printing and Mailing company located in Southwest PA seeks merger partner of similar or smaller size in same region.

• Large, full-service Web, Sheetfed and Digital company seeks tuck-in sellers with revenues in excess of $5 million, preferably in the $10-$20 million range.

• Mid-Atlantic Webfed Book, Publication and Directory printer seeks tuck-in companies in the $5-$10 million range.

• Large Mid-Atlantic Sheetfed printer seeks tuck-in sheetfed companies in the $5-$15 million range.

•  Large Digital and Sheetfed Offset company, serving a large metropolitan market, seeks acquisition with revenues in excess of $5 million.

• Buyer seeks Portland, OR-based printing operation.

• Large Midwest Digital Services/Printing company seeks tuck-in acquisition or to add companies in the $5-$20 million range. Greater Midwest geography preferred.

• $10 million General Commercial printer seeks tuck-in acquisition in major Northeast market.



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