SUSSEX, WI—One of the most compelling transactions in the history of the printing industry rocked a relatively serene M&A landscape when it was announced that Quad/Graphics had agreed to purchase Worldcolor—the second-largest printer in North America—and become a publicly traded company. But the move was as jaw-dropping as it was logical.
"This is a transformational event for Quad/Graphics, and we're excited about the opportunities our acquisition of Worldcolor will present our customers, shareholders and employees," said Joel Quadracci, chairman, CEO and president of Quad/Graphics, during an investor call after the announcement.
The combined company boasts aggregate sales of $5.1 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009. Together, the firm will have nearly 30,000 employees, though that figure is expected to decline during the integration process. The deal, announced Jan. 26, is expected to close during the second or third quarter and be accretive to the earnings of the combined enterprise.
How much is the deal worth? The Wall Street Journal, quoting sources familiar with the transaction, pegged the price tag at $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion. Last June, RR Donnelley's unsolicited cash-and-stock offer of $1.56 billion was rejected by then-Quebecor World, which was seeking to exit from bankruptcy protection.
Quad/Graphics' management believes the deal will generate US$225 million in pre-tax net annualized synergies within 24 months.
Under terms of the acquisition by Quad, Worldcolor shareholders will receive approximately 40 percent of the outstanding shares of Quad/Graphics at closing and Quad/Graphics shareholders will hold approximately 60 percent of the shares. Worldcolor common shares will be converted after a multi-step transaction into Class A shares of Quad/Graphics, at a share exchange ratio to be determined at closing. Worldcolor convertible preferred shares may either be converted to Worldcolor common shares or redeemed for cash at $8 per share.