Wallace?A Commercial Success

W.I.N. proved so successful on the forms side (332 users and growing), print buyers soon sought a similar tool for managing commercial printing. This presented a quandary. Wallace could provide the software, but not the manufacturing. The company lacked the production capacity to keep up with increasing commercial demands.

The acquisition of companies such as Moran Printing and Post Printing relieved some of the pressure, but Wallace recognized that purchasing printers piecemeal wasn’t a wise longterm strategy for building a strong commercial printing division.

Hello, Graphic Industries.

“It was part of the Wallace strategic plan to acquire a fairly sizeable base of commercial printers,” reveals Mike Leatherman, senior vice president and head of Wallace’s growing commercial printing division. “Once we started evaluating the market, we found that the Graphic Industries facilities included some of the most respected names within the markets where we wanted to be.”

Acquired Expertise
The list of Graphic Industries’ 20 companies reads like a who’s who of commercial printing. Wallace concluded that the operations would not only boost capacity, they would provide proven sheetfed offset expertise. What better to complement Wallace’s own distribution and information services?

Wallace proposed to purchase Graphic Industries for $18.50 per share. The deal seemed locked until Mail-Well hinted at an offer of $20 per share. Wallace countered with $21.75. Before the bidding could escalate further, Graphic Industries made a decision.

“We felt that Wallace was the best fit—not only for our people and our companies, but also our customers,” says Alvan Herring, formerly a vice president at Graphic Industries, now vice president of Wallace’s commercial printing division. “Wallace is making a commitment to handle print management, the whole print distribution side, and do everything from a graphics standpoint for customers.”

Although the acquisition presented clear benefits, Graphic Industries employees couldn’t help but feel somewhat nervous about being bought. Wallace’s management could understand their anxiety. After all, Wallace once faced similar circumstances.

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