De-evolution for eBooks Platform? – May 2015 M&A Activity
ProQuest, the world-class provider of digital content to libraries and researchers announced its commitment to provide printed copies of books with its acquisition of Coutts Information Service from the global book distributor and on-demand printer, Ingram Content Group. As part of the deal, ProQuest will now deliver its content in “e and p” format through an ongoing relationship with Ingram.
ProQuest traces its history back to 1872, when R.R. Bowker launched Publishers Weekly. The company has evolved to become a mammoth repository and global provider of digital content: with over 90,000 qualified sources, 6 billion digital pages spanning six centuries, the world’s largest collection of academic dissertations and thesis, in excess of 20 million scanned pages of global, national, regional and specialty newspapers, more than 450,000 books, scores of scholarly journals, and unique digitized collections from the world’s great museums and libraries, as well as archives from organizations and other sources such as the Associated Press. The company provides this digitized content to libraries and serious corporate, government, academic, professional and other researchers through a variety of automated online search and document management platforms.
It’s clear that ProQuest is a great home and superbly well-suited strategic buyer for Coutts Information Services, which through its MyiLibrary and Oasis platforms offers access to more than 13 million print titles and over half a million ebook titles. However, in a nod to the more classic form of the book, ink-on-paper, ProQuest will also offer access to Ingram’s extensive inventory of printed books and the ability to order titles in printed form through Ingram’s on-demand print and delivery network. Maybe it’s not de-evolution after all, rather an enlightened co-evolution of “e and p” books.
Direct mail combined with variable data printing technology has proven to be an attractive recipe for acquisitions in the commercial printing segment. Chicago-based Vision Integrated Graphics announced the acquisition of direct marketing printer and lettershop Tobe Direct, resulting in a company with total revenues now in excess of $70 million. This is not a “tuck-in” transaction to rationalize overcapacity; Vision Integrated Graphics committed to retain Tobe’s location and all of its employees, and will now have four locations around Chicago.