Buyout at Yorkshire web printer

Garnett Dickinson has restructured its board and is selling off one of its printing operations.

Nick Alexander, who was chief executive of the Rotherham-headquartered publishing and printing group, has led an MBO at Acorn Web Offset in Normanton.

The MBO team includes Acorn general manager Mark Roberts and sales manager Matthew Carry.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, was expected to be finalised today.

As a result Alexander has stepped down from the Garnett Dickinson board, although he retains his shareholding in the business.

Family-owned Garnett Dickinson has operations that span local newspaper publishing as well as web offset printing, mailing, design and digital printing.

The £45.6m turnover group acquired Acorn three-and-a-half years ago from Trader Media Group.

Joel Dickinson, formerly director of the group’s digital business, takes over from Alexander as CEO.

He said the deal would allow Garnett Dickinson to "sharpen its focus" on tailored multi-channel solutions. "We are looking to continue enhancing our portfolio with print, direct mail and digital production right at the heart."

Garnett Dickinson’s print operations focus on mail order and direct marketing, whereas Acorn Web Offset concentrates on short-run magazine and catalogues.

Acorn employs circa 100 staff, and makes a profit on turnover of around £15m. Its facilities include two 16pp Manroland Rotoman web presses, sheetfed printing, high-speed perfect binding and stitching.

PrintWeek understands the two businesses will continue to co-operate, and a deal to combine their buying power on an ongoing basis forms part of the MBO arrangement.

Alexander said: "This is a friendly buyout that suits every party. Acorn is a great business, customers love it and it is really well-positioned in its marketplaces. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m very excited about it."

He added that he had no plans to make any major changes to the way Acorn currently operates: "The plan is to carry on doing what it’s successfully doing already."