Footprint is looking to buy several businesses

Footprint steps up acquisition strategy with rebrand

Jacobs has a history of scaling smaller businesses through acquisition
Jacobs has a history of scaling smaller businesses through acquisition

Southampton-based commercial printer Footprint South has rebranded as Footprint, and folded in its sister company FPS Digital in preparation for an aggressive expansion strategy.

The rebrand, officially launching with the company’s 15-year anniversary in early November, will see Footprint and its marketing company FPS combine operations.

The two businesses already share premises.

“We went for a strategic review a few months ago,” explained Darren Jacobs, the firm’s MD, who bought Footprint and FPS in June 2023.

“We wanted to bring all of our services in our offering under one unified brand, and celebrate the 15th anniversary.”

The new consolidated branding will serve as the basis for Jacobs’ ambitious growth plans, which involve multiple acquisitions and a 25% growth plan for the newly combined Footprint business for the next two years.

Jacobs, an M&A specialist, has experience in buying and growing companies in several sectors, including IT, and has built a chain of hair salons.

He told Printweek: “The brand launch really underpins our wider plans.

“We’re looking to make at least two acquisitions in the next 18 months, and obviously we need a strong brand and business behind that.”

Companies under consideration – Jacobs has spoken to some 200, with 30 in the pipeline and eight in advanced stages – are typically around the £2-3m mark, with Jacobs hoping to bring litho and wide-format work in-house.

“We’re looking at scaling both territory and capability, so that we can retain more margin,” he added.

The company’s in-house marketing arm – formerly FPS – will help to power that growth, as many of the companies in conversation lack the in-house marketing services, he said.

Jacobs added that now was the perfect time for an M&A specialist to scale print companies.

He said: “The print sector has seen a period of decline, but we’re at the bottom of that curve, and it’s heading back up. 

“On top of that, it’s a sector that has £10bn in revenue in this country, and there are around 10,000 companies servicing that revenue – so it’s a sector ripe for consolidation, typically though acquisition.”

Footprint employs 12 at its Southampton site, where it uses Ricoh printing technology.