Private Equity Interested in Printing if it’s Packaging – November 2013 M&A Activity
Private equity interest in packaging printing and manufacturing remains high; while in general there is much less interest in the commercial printing and publishing sectors. This was the overwhelming response that I received during the past month in my conversations with partners and professionals from more than sixty private equity firms, in which I asked about their interest in the various industries that put “ink on substrates.” My impressions were borne out as PE funds announced significant deals in November, all related to the packaging sector.
Multi Packaging Solutions, recently acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners from Irving Place Capital, announced that the company has agreed to a merger with Chesapeake Services Limited, backed by The Carlye Group. Multi Packaging Solutions is a US-based packaging printer with several locations in Europe. Chesapeake Services is a UK-based packaging printer with multiple plants throughout Europe, several plants in the US, and two plants in China. Both companies have a major commitment to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, with many facilities dedicated to the special needs of these markets. Each company also has expertise in consumer branded packaging; Multi Packaging Solutions brings strengths in the entertainment industry; and Chesapeake Services brings four plants that manufacture plastic containers to the combined enterprise. Together, these two PE-backed companies begin to form a new global powerhouse in the business of printing packaging.
Transilwrap, a manufacturer, converter, and distributor of plastic films, was sold by its PE owner, Nicolet Capital Partners, to another fund, The Jordan Company. The company’s products are used in a wide variety of printing and packaging applications.
Paper merchants were active. Mac Papers, the leading distributor of paper to printing companies in the Southeast US, hopes to offset the declining volume of its printing papers business with its acquisition of Alles. The acquired company distributes a wide variety of packing supplies and equipment. Rather than branching out from its paper distribution business, Bradner Central, a paper merchant with locations throughout the Midwest and Texas, called it quits after more than 160 years as a family-owned company, and agreed to be acquired by Central National-Gottesman. This is Central National-Gottesman’s sixth acquisition of a paper merchant in the past four years, continuing the trend towards vertical integration of the fine printing paper business, exemplified by International Paper’s xpedx business unit.