Esko and Artwork Systems to Join Forces
Companies to consolidate their global market position in pre-production products and services for packaging and printing
GENT, BELGUIM—August 2, 2007—Esko and the three principal shareholders of Artwork Systems (Euronext Brussels: ARTS) today have reached an agreement whereby Esko and Artwork Systems will combine their operations. The resulting new entity, with estimated 2007 revenues in excess of EUR 180 million and a combined workforce of close to 1,000 professionals, consolidates the market leadership of both companies in packaging and printing pre-production products and services in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific.
On August 2, the three principal shareholders of Artwork Systems Group NV signed an agreement to sell their shares in Artwork Systems Group NV to Esko NV. The transaction enables the combination of the operations of Artwork Systems with those of Esko, a group controlled by the Danish private equity fund Axcel.
The sale relates to 13,074,483 shares in Artwork Systems Group NV, currently held by the respective holding companies of the founders of Artwork Systems, Guido Van der Schueren, Peter Denoo and Bart Denoo. The shares sold represent a 76.69% majority stake in Artwork Systems Group NV. The shares are sold at a purchase price per share of EUR 11.50 in cash, valuing Artwork Systems at EUR 196 million in total.
Target date for completion of the purchase of the shares is August 9, 2007. Following the acquisition of control Esko NV will launch a mandatory public offer for all remaining shares and outstanding warrants of Artwork Systems Group NV at a price of EUR 11.50 per share. Subsequent to the completion of the offer, after reopening if any, Esko will launch a buy-out offer, provided it has acquired 95% of the share capital of Artwork Systems Group.
The strategic rationale for the transaction is clear and founded upon a better utilization of each company’s complementary strengths in the packaging and commercial printing market segments, complementary expert sales and support channels and global customer bases.