M&A activity frenzy results from international growth

By Darryl Danielli, Thursday 22 November 2012

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There's been a frenzy of M&A activity across the print industry this week, with no fewer than three deals splashed across the front pages of this issue.

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It would be nice to think much of this deal-making was fuelled by the publication of our PrintWeek Top 500 next week, but I don’t think I could lay claim to it being the instigator of this rush of activity.

The more likely common denominator seems to be international growth.

Of the three deals, I think it’s fair to say that Konica’s acquisition of Charterhouse was the one that came out of furthest leftfield.

There had been noise suggesting that Charterhouse was a possible merger target earlier this year, as industry watchers highlighted that the print management sector was ripe for consolidation plays.

However, of late there had been silence on the prospect of the debt-laden business being bought by anyone – let alone a new entrant to the PM market, and a kit manufacturer to boot.

But while the deal may have been a surprise, the synergies for Konica seem fairly obvious – potential inroads for its managed print services business to Charterhouse’s blue chip client base as well as strengthening its challenge to become a player in commercial print. The benefits for Charterhouse are just as clear, financial stability.

While both companies declined to talk about the deal, the fact that it happened at all does apparently answer one question: is Konica’s interest in commercial print waning? I guess it’s not.

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