Judging by the contents of the past few issues, consolidation is clearly the name of the game right now.
Since the start of the year, it seems that every couple of days someone, somewhere is hitting the M&A trail to fast track growth at their print business – whether that be by buying the assets of a struggling rival to increase market footprint or add new services at a, presumably, knockdown price, or a more considered strategic purchase, months in the making.
In the latter category, in this issue alone Quinnstheprinters.com has expanded its geographical footprint, John E Wright has bought a local firm to add more services and GI Solutions has bought the various Eclipse companies and grabbed a seat at the top table of UK print.
While new technology and applications will be the talk of the show floor for obvious reasons at next month’s PrintWeekLive!, it’s just as assured that consolidation will be one of the key themes of the conference stream – after all, our opening keynote, Cimpress’s Robert Keane, is no stranger to the world of M&A.
And the fact that it’s not just a game limited to the biggest players will also be evidenced in subsequent sessions; for example when AJS Labels’ former owner Andrew Scrimgeour, who sold his business to a global packaging giant, takes to the stage; and during the SME panel discussion, where two of the four protagonists have dabbled in M&A.
In fact, with thousands of printers set to descend on the Wasps Arena in two weeks’ time, combined with the fertile environment created by the conference and workshops, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more deals are conceived in Coventry.