Potts Print (UK) has bought Bakershaw Print, a smaller local rival, in a deal that the Northumberland-based commercial print, direct mail and packaging specialist hopes will be the first of several strategic acquisitions in the next 12 to 18 months.
The deal for the £500,000-turnover business completed yesterday (31 July) for an undisclosed sum, but the two firms had been in talks for around six months.
According to Potts chief executive Michael Sandford-Couch one of the drivers for the deal was that the Bakershaw’s management team felt that they had grown the profitable business as far as they could with without significant investment.
“It makes perfect sense, because there are far too many people chasing the same work, we had worked together in the past and knew each other well, so rather than them investing in high-end capital equipment we just take the customer base and the people and move them here,” Sandford-Couch.
Bakershaw’s 12-strong workforce will start to relocate to Potts’ Cramlington facility in the coming weeks, including the firm’s joint owners, managing director Barry Billingham and director Geoff Armstrong.
Billingham and Armstrong will take management roles in production and business development respectively.
The Bakershaw team will be merged into Potts’ commercial and digital print division, with production ceasing at Bakershaw’s Longbenton unit later this year. The entire commercial and digital print division at Potts will then be moved to a new standalone factory as Potts continues its expansion plans.
As part of its growth strategy, the £14.7m-turnover business is looking at further acquisitions in the next 12 to 18 months and is already in very early stage discussions with several firms.
“I hope that there will be more acquisitions and we’ll be looking to talk to people in the North East that are perhaps looking for an exit strategy,” said Sandford-Couch.
“The next one is more likely to be something more specialised, perhaps an out and out digital firm or wide-format, because that’s something that we outsource at the moment. But we’re happy to talk to anyone that might be a good fit.”
Potts employs 140 staff and its client base encompasses blue-chips, retail and pharma companies, public sector bodies, charities and local businesses.