Bluetree expands with Kingsbury buy

Jo Francis
Monday, October 4, 2021

Bluetree Group has moved into luxury books and brochures with the acquisition of Kingsbury Press.

Kingsbury Press site: opportunities for cross-pollination across Bluetree Group
Kingsbury Press site: opportunities for cross-pollination across Bluetree Group

The award-winning business is located around 13 miles from Bluetree’s Wath upon Dearne supersite, at Loversall to the south of Doncaster. 

The acquisition completed today (4 October).

Kingsbury Press moved into a new, much larger site in Q3 2019, in a major revamp that also included a £1.6m Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 102 six-colour press. 

It also runs a Speedmaster XL 75 and specialist finishing equipment for its luxury product range, including layflat binding. 

Bluetree will retain the Kingsbury Press site, brand and its 37 employees. 

Group co-CEO Adam Carnell said the deal came about after Kingsbury’s family owners embarked upon an exit plan, with advisers at BDO contacting Bluetree about the potential opportunity.

He described it as a “huge day” for the group, and said the coming together of the businesses would create “a wealth of opportunities”.

“Kingsbury Press is a great brand and a great business. We are committed to continuing to drive Kingsbury Press forward and working with their existing clients whilst opening the offering up to our reseller audience,” he said.

“The team at Kingsbury have created an incredible business dedicated to ‘The Art of Print’ They will add a wealth of knowledge and experience to our business and we are delighted to invite all 37 colleagues to the Bluetree family.”

Kingsbury also makes presentation boxes and packaging, and high-end stationery and invitations. Clients include Sunseeker, Nyetimber, Givenchy and Graff diamonds. Other services include its KolorEdge edge printing technique for printing onto the edges of books, brochures, invitations and business cards. 

Carnell said there would be opportunities for cross-pollination across the different parts of the group.

Bluetree intends to expand the product range at its Route 1 Print and Instantprint brands, with new booklet options and “new finishing types not currently available within the existing range”.

“We currently get lots of bespoke requests, and everything they do is bespoke and we’re not planning to change that. There’s lots of scope for expansion,” he added. 

Kingsbury Press had sales of around £6m pre-pandemic. Former directors Rob Layton, Edward Layton, Gerard Layton and Clive Wickland have stepped down as directors but remain with the firm for a transition period. 

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bluetree’s  head of sales and integration at Route 1 Print Sarah Kilcoyne-Guilliam and Nathan Dennison, a supervisor at Bluetree, will be working with the Kingsbury team as part of the coming together of the businesses.

The takeover brings the number of employees at Bluetree to nearly 700 across its printing operations and Medical division. Carnell said the business was also looking to expand its medical product range, with transparent face masks among the new products in the works. 

The business had sales of £42.8m in its most recent accounts to 30 April 2020, but said sales were now at the £52m-mark.

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