Henry Wurst Inc. Acquires Universal Printing; 102 Workers in St. Louis Impacted
NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Henry Wurst Inc. (HWI), a company specializing in a wide range of commercial printing, mailing and fulfillment services, has announced its acquisition of select assets of St. Louis-based Universal Printing. Universal’s sales reps, CSRs and estimators will continue to service Universal clientele out of its St. Louis facility under the supervision of Universal CEO Robert Ebel, but Universal's production operations will be absorbed into the HWI facility located here during a six- to nine-month transitionary period.
As required by the WARN act, 102 Universal Printing workers are reportedly being layed off, although HWI CEO Michael Wurst told Printing Impressions that there may be job opportunities for some of them to join HWI in Kansas City on an individual, case-by-case basis.
HWI was ranked No. 70 on the 2016 Printing Impressions 400, reporting most recent fiscal year annual sales of $70.6 million and 321 employees. Universal Printing was listed at No. 122 with annual sales of $40 million. Both companies are privately held.
Michael Wurst — who has served as HWI CEO for the past two decades — noted there is very little customer overlap between the two companies, and that the Universal acquisition brings both increased sales and additional equipment capacity.
Universal specializes in conventional web and sheetfed offset signature printing and perfect binding of books, catalogs and some publications. Whereas HWI is a more diversified commercial printing operation, with web and sheeted offset, digital printing, mailing/fulfillment and online digital storefront capabilities for franchises and a range of other clients. On the digital press side, HWI is an all-Xerox shop, operating Nuvera and iGen cut-sheet toner presses, as well as a Rialto roll-to-sheet inkjet printer.
Several pieces of equipment will be relocated from the Universal Printing facility to HWI's Kansas City plant, including a 38˝ Sunday 2000 heatset web offset press; a six-color, 40˝ Manroland sheetfed offset press; a 27-pocket perfect binder; a saddlestitcher; and a large folder. Universal's existing building was not part of the transaction.
Universal Printing dates back to 1939, while HWI has been in business for more than 80 years. Universal Printing was almost acquired by Consolidated Graphics (CGX) in 2013, but that deal fell through when RR Donnelley purchased CGX.
Industry M&A specialist New Direction Partners represented Universal Printing in its acquisition by HWI.