Williams Lea Tag sale talk ramps up

By Jo Francis, Friday 05 May 2017

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Williams Lea Tag owner Deutsche Post DHL is understood to have completed a number of key steps needed to facilitate the sale of the business.


Williams Lea Tag: increased noise level about sale

A source close to Williams Lea Tag said that Deutsche Post DHL had now completed the vendor due diligence process, and had appointed investment bank Moelis & Company to handle the sale.

Moelis typically handles large-scale deals valued in hundreds or billions of dollars, and has a number of ex-Deutsche Bank executives on its EMEA team.

In February PrintWeek revealed that Williams Lea Tag chief executive Dan Ellerton had unexpectedly left the business, amid speculation that it could be put up for sale.

Last month, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also reported that Deutsche Post DHL was planning to sell the marketing communications outsourcing wing, which it acquired in 2006 in a £450m deal.

A Deutsche Post DHL spokeswoman told PrintWeek: “We are not commenting on market rumours about Williams Lea.”

Deutsche Post DHL had sales of €57.3bn (£48.6bn) last year. It combined its Supply Chain cash-generating unit with Williams Lea in 2015 and no longer splits out the Williams Lea Tag figures. The business had worldwide sales of €1.4bn in 2014. 

In the UK, the various Williams Lea group businesses, including TSO, filed sales of more than £500m in 2015, but it has recently lost out on some key government tenders to rivals Communisis and APS Group.

A source close to the situation said the business, which has a global presence in 40 countries, was being offered to private equity rather than trade buyers.

A Williams Lea insider in the US told PrintWeek that the firm has recently laid off 25 design staff at its West Virginia and New York operations in order to offshore the roles, and had shelved plans to relocate its New York operation to a new facility in Brooklyn.

“All signs point to a sale,” they said.



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