CUNNINGHAM GRAPHICS -- Public Service
New employees aren't the only people benefiting from Cunningham Graphics' IPO. Employees hired on or before Dec. 31, 1997, received a certain amount of stock options for every year with the company. This has made a difference.
"The day we went public, you could feel the energy in the company," Cunningham recalls. "Everybody was walking around a little bit faster. They were turning out the lights when leaving different departments. They were producing work much more efficiently."
Cunningham opened its stock at $13 per share. It never saw $13. When trading began, the share price immediately jumped to $18. Stock peaked at $21 per share and, at press time, was trading at $14.
Cunningham, who notes that his company is not immune to overall market conditions, is upbeat about the stock performance. "On a percentage basis, if you look at all the IPOs that were done in April, we're probably at the top of the heap for keeping our value," he says.
Cunningham began making his plans for the IPO two years ago, following the lead of other industry consolidators. "We owe a lot to Joe Davis at Consolidated Graphics and to [Gerald] Mahoney at Mail-Well," he says. "We saw what they were doing, and it looked very promising. We thought we could do it a little different. We wanted to build the company through organic growth as well as acquisition growth, which would be specialized growth. We wanted to go after niche players and companies that complement what we do, not just general commercial printers."
A British Buyout
The first company Cunningham Graphics went after was Roda Ltd., a London-based financial printer. Cunningham Graphics bought out Roda for $8 million six days after the IPO's completion.
Cunningham Graphics and Roda shared a partnership long before the acquisition, however. The two companies—along with Workable, a Hong Kong financial printer—were all part of World Research Link, a business network that Cunningham Graphics developed five years ago to strengthen its position in the research report market.