Kaizen Print acquired by North-West News Group

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, December 4, 2020

Belfast-based Kaizen Print has been acquired by a publishing company that is looking expand its digital printing and creative services in 2021.

(L-R) NWNG's Dominic McClements, Kaizen's Martin and Connor McAuley and NWNG's Austin Currie
(L-R) NWNG's Dominic McClements, Kaizen's Martin and Connor McAuley and NWNG's Austin Currie

North-West News Group (NWNG), which publishes a number of local newspapers and websites in Tyrone, Fermanagh and Donegal, completed its purchase of Kaizen Print on Tuesday (1 December).

Celebrating its 120th year in business next year, independently-owned NWNG’s newspapers attract almost 150,000 readers each week and the company has over 500,000 followers across its website and social media platforms.

The Omagh-headquartered group’s titles include the Ulster Herald, Tyrone Herald, Dungannon Herald, Strabane Chronicle, Fermanagh Herald and Derry People & Donegal News as well as Gaelic Life and North-West Brides.

Also operating numerous digital platforms, the group had employed 78 staff across its sites in Omagh, Strabane, Enniskillen and Letterkenny prior to the acquisition.

Kaizen Print, meanwhile, specialises in digital printing, branding, graphic design, motion graphics and web development and also incorporates graphic design agency Kaizen Brand Evolution and wedding stationery specialist Kaizen Weddings.

NWNG said its acquisition of Kaizen will enable it to offer enhanced digital and creative design services to its client base, complementing the advertising platforms which already exist for local businesses and readers through its newspaper and digital outlets.

All of Kaizen’s 30 staff will remain with the company at its current premises at Jennymount Court, Belfast, and the firm’s branding and identity will also be retained.

The business, which serves blue-chip clients in the corporate business and sporting sectors, is owned and managed by brothers Connor and Martin McAuley. The pair will remain with the business and will continue to manage the day-to-day activities of Kaizen alongside senior management from NWNG.

NWNG managing director Dominic McClements said: “The acquisition of Kaizen is an exciting new chapter in the history of NWIPP [North West of Ireland Printing and Publishing Company]. Connor and Martin McAuley have built up an impressive portfolio of clients with the support of a highly talented team who have a wealth of knowledge across digital, marketing and printing disciplines.

“The combination of Kaizen and NWIPP will mean that we are in a strong position to offer a one-stop solution for the marketing, printing and digital needs of local businesses while continuing to focus on producing quality news and editorial content for local communities.”

NWNG chairman Austin Currie added the deal would strengthen the group’s ability to support local businesses as they aim to recover from a year of difficulties caused by coronavirus restrictions.

“Our newspapers have been embedded in local communities for over a century and now, with the addition of Kaizen, we will be in an even stronger position to support local businesses with all their advertising and marketing requirements in 2021 and beyond,” he said.

In a joint statement, Connor and Martin McAuley said: “Our goal has always been to create the strongest business possible and we are immensely excited around the opportunities that lie ahead and the strength this partnership will create for both businesses.

“Having worked closely with NWNG over the past year, it is evident that we share similar values towards how business should be done and while both individual businesses are great, together they are infinitely stronger.”

Established in 2009, Kaizen operates three Roland DG and two HP wide-format printers and two Xerox Versant digital presses.

NWNG’s legal and financial advisors in the acquisition project included Arthur Cox, led by Lynsey Mallon, and CavanaghKelly, led by Michael Drumm. HNH, led by Craig Holmes, acted as lead corporate finance advisor in the deal, which was also backed by AIB.

Kaizen’s financial and legal advisors were Baker Tilly Mooney Moore and O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.

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