Chris Colville

It's early December, as I write this, and the first major snowstorm rocks the City of Brotherly Love. The storm takes a rare path of traveling due north up the eastern seaboard. For those of us living in southern New Jersey (or South Jersey to all us separatist hawks) this is odd. Weather reports always show major storms striking north and west of Philly, meaning those of us on the eastern side of the Delaware River get to enjoy light precipitation, primarily rain. But on this morning, the storm is making its way north via Washington, DC. What a time for PRINT Outlook 03.

BY ERIK CAGLE Who can forget 1998 and 1999? Those were easily the salad days of merger and acquisition in the commercial printing industry. The dotcom craze was sweeping across all U.S. industries, with venture capitalists seeking new avenues into the printing segment. Wall Street coveted this largely fragmented industry, and a wave of new kids on the block, consolidators, embarked on the IPO-and-roll-up philosophy. Roughly a half-dozen of these consolidators vied for the growing number of printing companies looking to become cogs in much larger machines, seeking either payola or the benefits from the economies of scale. The national economy was a well-oiled

April can mean only one thing...spring is here. And the fancy of young men everywhere is captivated. It's a giddy excitement expressed as a certain fragrance, a knowing glance, obvious body signals and curves that leave your jaws hanging open. You wonder if you could make it to first base, given the opportunity. After all, you have all the right moves down; you know what the other person is thinking. You're good with your hands and quick on your feet. You've played this game before and know a thing or two about how it's done. There's no way you can lose. Love

As the consolidation march pauses to take a breath, the sector's leaders are taking the time to prove to Wall Street that they can manage their new empires. BY CHRISTOPHER CORNELL About this time two years ago, the trade press were using metaphors like "juggernaut" and "tidal wave" to describe the actions of a half-dozen companies in the graphic arts industry, as they began an awe-inspiring crusade to consolidate one of North America's more fractured business sectors. Any metaphor that implied inevitability seemed appropriate. Announcements of new acquisitions came, at times, weekly; sometimes they even appeared daily. What a difference two years can make.

Joe R. Davis has taken the industry by storm with his novel approach of acquiring well-managed commercial printing operations. BY CHRIS CORNELL If all you knew was that Joe R. Davis is the chairman and CEO of a printing company with annualized revenues in excess of $575 million, you might wonder why he was chosen as a 1998 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee. After all, there are larger printing companies. But when you know more, the reason becomes clear. In its frequent dispatches to the press, Davis' New York Stock Exchange company, Consolidated Graphics, routinely states that it is "the fastest-growing

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