So I’m out of the office a few days at the National Postal Forum in Nashville, TN—where, hand to God, I saw Chet Atkins’ gun collection—and an old amigo sends me this e-mail gem:

“I heard today from a very good source that discussions between Cenveo and Consolidated Graphics broke down in the last few days. I was told that Cenveo was to be the survivor if the transaction was consummated. I have not learned the reason why the discussions stopped.”

Amazing. Can you picture the two printing industry war horses, Joe Davis of CGX and Cenveo’s Bob Burton, pulling on cigars at a big conference table as they bounce figures off one another? Burton barks out, “Look Joe, I can go to $850 million, but I don’t see any wiggle room beyond that.” Davis, without batting an eyelash, utters in that deep drawl, “No can do, Bobby.”

Of course, this is more colorful than the truth. The reality is it’s a bunch of lawyers sitting in conference, discussing non-disclosure agreements and other formalities, as opposed to two tough hombres doing some horse trading over whiskey.

CGX’s Jim Cohen, the vice president of mergers and acquisitions, said the company cannot comment on deals it may or may not be evaluating. Robbie Burton, Bob’s son and Jim’s counterpart, gave a similar reply. We’re obligated to follow the leads, whether they’re accurate or unfounded, and the parties involved can’t and won’t say a word.

This is another case where we would be shocked, but not surprised, at the magnitude of the deal and the players involved (though even the rumor mill isn’t predicting a hand shake in this scenario). It would further support the industry-wide impression that volume levels overall are continuing to dwindle, prompting reconciliation of capacity with demand. Shedding capacity, in the long run, is good for the health of the industry.

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  • http://RobertJohannes Robert Johannes


    I can’t imagine a worse cultural merger, quite frankly. CGX’s careful system of adding select printers and conservative sales technique with Bobby’s churn’em and burn’em reckless acquisitions and a “we don’t care if we make money, we’ll make it up in volume” sales grabbing.

    I can’t believe that Joe Rogers would take his nice balance sheet and turn it over to Attila the Hun and his debt riddled mess. Check out CVO and what games are being played there. They have 1.2 billion in debt and no interest payments in Q1 10? Did they get a stimulus package that the rest of the industry missed.

    RUN, JOE, RUN!!!! run away as fast as possible.

  • http://Richard Richard

    Quite simply, if there is a nickel to squeeze out of this, both of these Robber Barons would do it. Having worked at companies that both have “acquired”, I have nothing but disdain for the way they operate. Anderson was a prime example of the Cenveo Business model, and Hennegan for CGX. Both companies printed amazing pieces, had satisfied customers, and excellent staffs – Anderson is gone, and Hennegan is simply a shell of itself…. I learned a great deal from both CVO and CGX – I guess that this quote from the writer Janwillem van de Wetering sums it up best ” Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough.”

  • http://Ray Ray


    You hit the nail on the head with this:

    “Shedding capacity, in the long run, is good for the health of the industry.”

    There is / and always will be more capacity then there is work.

    If you look at the players in the M&A business. You’ll notice that their growth has been through M&A.. and not internal or organic growth.

    Any growth that has occurred has most likely been in the digital arena.

    Unfortunately the model of M&A is broken in my opinion. The big players can not keep acquiring heavy steel.

    They need to start looking outside of the Print Industry and acquire communication companies, that can help them leverage their under utilized “capacity.” and cash in on the digital explosion.

    Unfortunately, this won’t happen. The Joe’s, & Bobs… will keep consolidating.. until there’s no one left to buy.