Global Graphics acquires URW Design & Development

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, September 18, 2015

Software developer Global Graphics has acquired the entire issued share capital of German font developer URW Design & Development.

Global Graphics said the acquisition, which was completed on Tuesday (15 September), will enable the two companies to offer combined products, continue Global Graphics’ growth in the office printing market and expand URW’s potential market reach.

URW, which invented the Ikarus system for font design and production in 1978, now develops and designs digital typefaces.

In addition to licensing its type libraries to the graphic design market, URW develops exclusive corporate typefaces for brands including General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Siemens.

Over the past decade the firm has developed a business in ‘global fonts’ that includes non-Latin scripts and allows documents to be interchanged between many countries while maintaining brand identity.

Gary Fry, chief executive of Cambridge-headquartered Global Graphics, said: “URW has been a strategic partner of ours in the office market for several years and there is a great deal of synergy between our businesses.

“With the recent growth we have experienced in the office market we have seen more opportunities for a combined proposition of our Harlequin RIP technology and URW’s font solutions.

“Furthermore, the acquisition brings significant opportunities to expand the URW business geographically with the support of the Global Graphics world-wide infrastructure.

“Subject to the acquisition accounting, we do expect the acquisition to have a positive contribution to EBITA during the current financial year.”

Total consideration for the acquisition is expected to be approximately €4.2m (£3m), which will be settled by €2m in newly created ordinary shares of Global Graphics and €2.2m in cash from existing cash reserves, of which €200,000 is a contingent consideration payable in 2016.

A total of 925,926 new ordinary shares will be issued, increasing the number of issued shares from 10,289,781 to 11,215,707. This will result in a dilution of 8.26%.

Global Graphics recorded a turnover of €11.4m for the year ended 31 December 2014. Its customers include HP, Corel, Quark, Kodak and Agfa. Following the acquisition the company has 95 staff, 12 of which are from URW.

For the year ended 31 December 2014, the draft audited accounts of URW showed revenue of €3m and a profit before tax of €1.2m.

URW operates internationally and its 2014 revenue was split 53% from Germany, 10% from the remainder of Europe, 33% from the US and 4% from the rest of the world.

URW managing director and co-founder Peter Rosenfeld said: “Our business is very complementary to Global Graphics' markets and so we fit together very well.

“We now have the scope to expand our business globally outside of Germany and the US and to give graphic designers and corporates in wider geographies more choice of fonts.”

The URW brand will be retained and it will continue to operate as a standalone business led by Rosenfeld and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Graphics.

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