Canon has sold print-on-demand specialist Kite, which it acquired two years ago, to Cardiff-headquartered Prodigi Group.
London-based Kite was founded in 2014 by Charlie Carpenter and Deon Botha and was purchased by Canon in 2017 as the manufacturer looked to expand its digital services operation.
Both Prodigi and Kite are print API operations that specialise in supporting businesses and brands in the sale of high-volume, print-on-demand products such as canvases, framed pictures and t-shirts using a network of integrated print and drop shipping partners.
Unlike Kite, Prodigi also operates its own in-house printing in the UK and the Netherlands and has a significantly larger global network of fulfilment partners.
The acquisition completed on 27 August. Prodigi chief executive James Old said that combining Kite’s software with its own API platform “will help our customers sell more, with greater scale and lower costs”.
He told Printweek: “We were a supplier of Kite’s and close to the team. I’d always let them know we were interested in acquiring if opportunity arose. Canon had a specific selection criteria about potential acquirers and we fit the profile. It was a competitive process.
“We are both software companies so unifying our different software products to help increase growth opportunities for our clients is very exciting.”
Canon Europe senior director of digital sales and experience David Gross added: “Having nurtured and grown the business, we are pleased to have found the right home for the Kite team.
“Prodigi are recognised as one of the leading print-on-demand platforms and the two businesses have worked closely together as print partners for many years. We wish them all the best for the future.”
Kite employs “around a dozen” staff, all of whom have transferred to Prodigi and have moved into the group’s new London office in Spitalfields. The team will now focus on integrating Kite’s Shopify and Photo Book e-commerce products with Prodigi’s print API.
Kite will be renamed and will use the Prodigi branding going forward, according to Old, who added the firm’s chief executive Charlie Carpenter will now become Prodigi’s chief commercial officer.
Now employing more than 100 full-time staff, Prodigi Group operates its own manufacturing facilities in the UK and the Netherlands.
Around 30% of its print production is completed in-house, with the remainder outsourced. It operates a raft of wide-format kit from HP, Roland DG, Epson and Mimaki and finishing kit from Zünd and Summa.
The acquisition follows Prodigi’s purchase of photo and poster printing API Pwinty in 2017 and Old said there may be more deals to come in the future.
“We’re actively seeking potential strategic acquisitions in the print-on-demand space. But our interest is primarily software companies rather than traditional print businesses.”