Hobs scoops up Callprint into repro business

Callprint’s trade and assets have been bought in a pre-pack by Hobs Group and are set to be rolled into its reprographics business.

Hobs acquired “the majority” of the Callprint business on Friday (31 August). A number of Callprint’s premises will be rebranded over time under the Hobs Reprographic name, although a number of site closures are also expected.

Hobs chief executive James Duckenfield confirmed that Callprint’s Liverpool site would not be kept on and that staff had been made redundant. He also said it was also “unlikely” that the Croydon branch would remain in operation. Confirmed to remain open were Bristol and the rest of the London sites.

According to industry sources, the Callprint premises in Hertford and Birmingham were shut down on Friday with all staff made redundant. However, Duckenfield declined to confirm redundancies at those sites and said the involved parties were still currently “figuring out the details”.

“For some time, Callprint has been a loss-making business and it simply ran out of cash,” said Duckenfield. “Duff & Phelps were appointed as advisors and performed a marketing exercise inviting bids from a number of businesses. There was a competitive two-stage bidding process and we were able to make the best offer and transact quickly.

“We have stepped in to pay every Callprint member of staff’s salaries for August, whether they will be staying on with us or not. However, I am glad to say we have been able to preserve the majority of jobs.

“I believe the reaction so far has been very positive, having spoken to people throughout the business. As businesses, we have complementary skill sets and together we offer unparalleled coverage of the UK. It is great news for all clients and will cement our leadership in the UK repro market.”

Although Duckenfield did not confirm which branches would stay open, he described Hobs’ new coverage as “24 sites across the UK”. While the Callprint sites will eventually rebrand under the Hobs Repro banner, the Callprint brand will be maintained for Hobs’ managed print services wing.

Hobs has taken on Callprint managing director Steve Cheek in a “sales leadership role” and marketing director Gary Cheek as a “leader in design and lithographic printing”, although other members of the Cheek family have been let go.

Callprint’s business in Dubai was not part of the Hobs deal, the ownership of that business was transferred to Steve Cheek last month.

Duff & Phelps had not commented at the time of writing.