Leading-Edge Printers Acquire Content Management Companies – February 2014 M&A Activity
Innovative printers, large and small, continue to invest in software companies that manage, create, repurpose, format and deliver informational content. These innovative companies are not choosing between print or e-delivery channels. They are enabling delivery of their customers’ content to any one of a multitude of output devices; the ultimate consumer views that content on a device of their own choosing, including ink-on-paper.
RR Donnelley acquired MultiCorpora, a Canadian-based company that provides language translation software. A review of RR Donnelley’s corporate “About” statement and company website indicates how far the largest US printer has evolved from providing primarily printing services. This latest acquisition adds to the company’s ability to assist customers to process and deliver content where, how, and when it will be most effective, including via a wide variety of printed products.
At the other end of the scale in terms of size, Thomson-Shore, an employee-owned company in Michigan that specializes in printing books, appears to be shifting gears to take advantage of the growing importance of self-publishing in the book printing industry. The company acquired PublishNext and its subsidiary, Seattle Book Company. PublishNext is an online service that assists authors to self-publish their own work by providing design, editing and other services. The result is books that look professional and can compete in the market against books published by the big name publishing houses. The Seattle Book Company adds marketing and distribution services to the mix for those self-publishers. The final composed book can be printed using traditional offset, or stored digitally, marketed online, delivered as an e-book or output on a digital press, bound and delivered on demand.
Vistaprint, the online printing service, acquired People & Print Group in the Netherlands. People & Print Group uses online branded websites to acquire print volume that is based on more traditional file uploads, rather than from templates which is the basis for Vistaprint’s tremendous growth. Vistaprint has grown to sales in excess of $1.2 billion by catering to very small businesses with orders averaging less than $41 each. Vistaprint used online templates and factory automation to disrupt and dominate the business of printing business cards. Will the company also use software to succeed in the “high-touch” business of printing custom orders from customer-supplied files?