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Von Hoffmann Acquires Lehigh Press

October 2003
ST. LOUIS—The Von Hoffmann Corp. has signed a stock purchase agreement to acquire the Lehigh Press for approximately $110 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments.

Founded in 1924, the Lehigh Press is a highly specialized component printer with market leadership positions in both book covers and direct marketing materials. Lehigh's operating platform includes Pennsauken, NJ-based Lehigh Lithographers, which provides component printing and digital premedia services, and Broadview, IL-based Lehigh Direct, which provides advanced direct marketing services. Lehigh employs approximately 450 people.

In 2002, privately held Lehigh Press reported net sales of nearly $120 million, excluding its Puerto Rico affiliate. The company anticipates that its total sales will exceed $125 million in 2003.

"We are excited to be adding the Lehigh Press to our family of companies," says Robert Mathews, president and CEO of Von Hoffmann. "Von Hoffmann's acquisition of the Lehigh Press is an excellent match of similar traditions, business philosophies and industry positions," he notes.

"Both companies possess world-class organizations and employees with complementary capabilities and services that will continue to operate independently," Mathews adds.

"The joining of the Lehigh Press with Von Hoffmann offers strong strategic fit and business synergy between two market-leading companies. The combined entity creates a compelling value proposition for customers," states Ray Frick, CEO and president of the Lehigh Press.

"While Lehigh will continue to operate separately and provide services to our customers independently, just as we have done in the past, by joining with Von Hoffmann we are enthusiastic about the expanded growth opportunities that this acquisition creates," notes Frick.

Ray Frick and the Lehigh Direct management team will continue to lead Lehigh Direct after the acquisition in achieving their strategic goals of accelerated growth and future expansion.

John R. DePaul will continue to head Lehigh Lithographers and will assume an expanded sales executive role with Von Hoffmann. "By combining these two companies, we are continuing to expand our mutually strong market positions within the educational and trade marketplace," says DePaul.

The acquisition fits with Von Hoffmann's strategy to increase product offerings to its customer base and to provide increased capabilities, ranging from design and prepress through manufacturing, fulfillment and distribution.

As part of the transaction DLJ Merchant Banking Partners II L.P., a CSFB private equity fund, has committed to invest $20 million of new equity in Von Hoffmann Holdings to be used for general corporate purposes, including the repurchase of existing indebtedness.

The transaction is expected to close within 60 days. Mark Brady, head of M&A at William Blair & Co., LLC, advised Lehigh.

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