Wyndeham buys Graphic Facilities in 6m deal

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Wyndeham has gained a dominant position in magazine pre-press with the acquisition of the Graphic Facilities Group.

It will pay up to 5.92m in cash and shares for the 15.7m business, and is issuing 3.64m new shares to pay for the deal.

Graphic Facilities comprises four businesses: Bow-based Graphics London which specialises in high-end magazine work, Graphics Kent in Sidcup which focuses on business-to-business magazines and classified ad make-up; packaging wing Kestrel in Essex; and creative agency Masterpiece, also in Bow.

The group is PrintWeeks reigning Pre-press Company of the Year, and its publishing clients include NatMags, IPC, the Telegraph Group and Cond Nast. Kestrel, described as the jewel in the crown works with a raft of blue chip clients.

Group managing director Paul Utting said Wyndeham viewed pre-press as changing, not going. Whilst in some areas we have seen an erosion, in others we are seeing real growth. For example our new ASP workflow means customers can do as much or as little as they like.

Pre-press is also an area that needs consolidation and this presented a great opportunity, he added.

Wyndeham already owns London-based Argent, which has sales of around 9m. Argent has just won a 3m, three-year deal to provide a streamlined pre-press workflow for IPCs TX and Connect titles, including TV Times, Whats on TV, Chat, Now and Womans Own. The work was previously handled by Polestar Imaging.

Wyndeham aims to capitalise on the buy by cross-selling the groups services in packaging and publishing, via its new centralised sales team.

Graphic Facilities chief executive Gavin Holmes said: This is a great move for us. It gives us a much broader base to go and sell to and all the guys here are very pleased about it. The response from clients has been quite favourable, and the combination of the companies [Graphics and Argent] will equal massive benefits to clients were going to see some very powerful systems come to market to allow publishers to do exactly what they want to do.

The Graphics management team will be retained, and the enlarged pre-press wing will be headed by Argent managing director Tony Austin. Utting said a joint project team from the two businesses would be set up to look at economies of scale and efficiencies.

Wyndehams share price rose by 4.5p, or 4%, to 117p on the news.

Industry reaction

Its very interesting and means Wyndeham will do the repro for the vast majority of IPC titles
Jasper Scott, manufacturing director, IPC Media

It will be interesting to see what happens next and what clients think. It means weve gone from three major players in London to two. Wyndeham is certainly getting two really fantastic MDs in Mike Carter and Mick Tooley
Les Pipe, chief executive, Fresh Media Group

I think its good news. There are great synergies in terms of quality. For Wyndeham to buy Graphics is very exciting, and Graphics has some fantastic staff very dedicated and very professional
Brenda Haywood, group executive editor, Telegraph Group

Its very, very interesting. Almost all our repro is with those two companies. If this had been the case two or three years ago I would have said no way, but things are different now and Im okay with it. I think its good news
Alice Beattie, manufacturing director, NatMags

It came as a surprise, but then again it shouldnt have been I suppose. My reaction at this stage is extremely cautious until I know more
Mal Skelton, production director, BBC Magazines

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