Is the Commercial Printing Industry Ripe for Another Wave of Consolidation? – June 2013 M&A Activity
The shakeout in the paper products industry continues. Xerox shed its European business, selling the rights to market Xerox branded paper to Antalis, a huge distributor of paper products globally, except in the US. This follows the sale of Xerox’s North American paper business to Domtar, the Canadian paper manufacturer. In the label stock business, Drytac purchased Multi-Tac, both manufacturers of adhesive-based paper products. Brookfield Asset Management sold its interest in Longview Fibre Paper & Packaging to Kapstone Paper & Packaging. With Longview’s mills in the Pacific Northwest, Kapstone now has a national footprint in the brown kraft and containerboard paper products sectors.
Continuing a trend we have seen over the past year, Bangor Publishing Co, publisher of the Bangor Daily News in Maine, is closing its printing operation, agreeing to outsource its future printing to the Sun Media Group in Lewiston, Maine. As page and circulation counts continue to fall, this outsourcing trend is likely to continue; the stronger firms that have invested in more efficient operations will pick up the printing contracts from the ones that have been unable or unwilling to upgrade their print operations.
The owners of Benchemark Printing, a commercial printing company in upstate New York, moved into the business of creating news content, purchasing a local daily newspaper in a transaction that included several weekly community papers. It’s hard to see the strategic fit in this deal, since the printing equipment used in the commercial printing business is completely different from presses used to print newspapers.
It appears that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is throwing in the towel in the press manufacturing business, forming a joint venture with the much smaller Ryobi, which also makes mostly smaller presses. The new venture will be named Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology; Ryobi will have controlling interest. It remains to be seen if the Mitsubishi nameplate will disappear, but if it does it will be missed by many (including me, as two of my personal favorite printed pieces were produced on a Mitsu at a shop where I served as EVP in the early 90’s).