Pan-European book printing group CPI has been acquired by new owners.
The €450m turnover business is being acquired by a consortium of investors in a €21m (£18.3m) deal that will also see CPI’s debt – previously more than €120m – reduced to just €15m.
The majority investor is French conglomerate Impala, which is taking a 52% stake. BPI France, the French state-owned bank, is taking 24% with the remaining 24% held by private investors and management.
Over recent weeks speculation about the future ownership of the group had heightened as it worked on refinancing its existing debt, and there were fears it could even be broken up.
The takeover bid was tabled last week, although the identity of Impala Group was not known at the time. It did not have any print or related investments prior to the CPI deal.
In a statement Impala chairman Jacques Veyrat said: "We want to show, along with the company’s management, that it is possible to pursue an ambitious, value-creating strategy in a declining and evolving sector."
CPI chairman Pierre-Francois Catté told PrintWeek: "Impala was introduced to us by an investment bank. They look at CPI as an asset that has a chance to really perform, but just needed some help. It’s been a very fast process."
CPI’s previous owners, a syndicate of banks, have written off their shareholdings and most of the old debt, barring the €15m.
"The banks have acted very responsibly. I salute them because this has not been a very easy exercise," Catté said.
He added: "Our priority now is to stabilise the business and make sure everyone is comfortable. We didn’t lose any customers [during the refinancing/sale process]. Now we’re going back to day-to-day business and will make any structural adjustments as smoothly as we can.
"Any changes will be made progressively. We are not planning any massive restructuring in the short-term," he added. "We have new money to invest and still believe there’s a huge future in this industry. We will keep on investing in digital printing for the future."
CPI’s £117m UK operation includes Mackays, Antony Rowe, CPI Colour, William Clowes and Cox & Wyman.
UK chief executive Francois Golicheff said he was delighted at the positive outcome: "We believe this announcement demonstrates our long-term commitment to supporting our customers," he stated.
"It’s good news for publishers and for our commercial print customers; they can be assured that we are totally focused on our strategy of investing and innovating to adapt in a fast-evolving market. I am determined that CPI UK will continue on a path of security, profitability and growth."
The takeover deal should be formally completed in the next few weeks.