AlphaGraphics sold to private equity company Blackstreet Capital

By Jo Francis, Tuesday 17 January 2012

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The AlphaGraphics master franchise operation has been sold to US private equity firm Blackstreet Capital for an undisclosed sum.

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AlphaGraphics was the last major Pindar-owned asset that remained up for sale through KPMG following the group’s fall into administration last summer.

The print franchise is headquartered in Salt Lake City, and has more than 260 independently owned centres worldwide – the majority in the Americas.

In a statement, Mark Firmin, joint administrator of Pindar and KPMG’s Northern head of restructuring, said: "We are delighted to have completed a share sale of this US based global company, preserving the business and the jobs within it.

"Since our appointment to Pindar in July 2011, we have invested considerable time and effort in preparing AlphaGraphics, the solvent part of the Pindar Group, for sale and negotiating with interested parties. The outcome is very pleasing and it is the last remaining part of the Pindar Group."

Centre owners were informed of the new ownership in a webcast at the end of last week.

Former Pindar chairman Andrew Pindar had also mounted an MBO bid for the business. He told PrintWeek: "I tried my best to buy it but circumstances didn’t allow that to happen. It’s a fantastic company and a successful business, and I’m proud of my time with it. I have a lot of friends in the network and I wish them well."

AlphaGraphics, which is profitable, marks a departure from the usual Blackstreet target, as the group describes its specialty as "underperforming corporate orphans". In the conference call representatives of the new owner emphasised that the chain was a different proposition to its usual investments.

It’s understood that Blackstreet does not plan to make any immediate changes to the management structure, and AlphaGraphics chief executive Kevin Cushing retains his role at the business.

One centre owner commented: "It’s a bit disappointing the MBO didn’t happen, but that or a venture capital sale were my preferred routes, whereas a trade sale to another franchise would have been a concern. The Blackstreet team said they were impressed with AlphaGraphics and its strategy and vision for the future. The proof will be in what they do now, whether they invest money and what their expansion plans are."


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