Full-service print finishing company Perfect Finishing, Inc., Clifton, NJ, has acquired 21st Century Finishing, Inc., Saddle Brook, NJ. Graphic Arts Advisors, LLC (GAA), Mountain Lakes, NJ, a strategic financial advisory and consulting firm devoted exclusively to all sectors of the graphic communications industry, represented Perfect Finishing in the acquisition. GAA Directors John Hyde, Esq. and Mitch Evans served as lead advisors on the purchase.
Perfect Finishing co-owner Bruce Flaim noted that the expertise of 21st Century Finishing’s staff, the consolidation of mutual clients, and the potential for new customers were key drivers of his interest in acquiring the firm. Post-acquisition, all but four of 21st Century Finishing’s staff have joined Perfect Finishing. Operations in 21st Century Finishing’s Saddle Brook facility have ended and the company’s customers are now being served by Perfect Finishing’s Clifton shop, which now houses approximately half of 21st Century’s equipment. Mr. Flaim notes that the additional equipment and expanded workforce gained through the purchase well positions Perfect Finishing to serve a larger customer base.
“There’s a struggle in the industry to find qualified employees,” Mr. Flaim said. “By acquiring 21st Century, I was able to gain employees who had deep experience in finishing processes and technologies, estimating, sales, and production. Like our own staff, our new employees are experts in their fields.”
Once he became interested in purchasing 21st Century Finishing, Mr. Flaim contacted GAA “almost immediately” to help negotiate and structure the acquisition. “Our two firms were friendly competitors. Because the owners of 21st Century were facing financial difficulties, I knew they would eventually be looking for an exit strategy and would most likely be interested in selling,” he recalled. “However, I also knew there were many issues with the company’s creditors, many of whom were vendors that we also used. I knew those issues had to be addressed effectively and preferably by a third party experienced in M&A. That’s why I turned to GAA. John and Mitch used their expertise to work with the vendors professionally and with integrity and structure an agreement that benefitted all of us—our company, the seller, and the vendors.”
“We were pleased to bring this acquisition to a successful conclusion in which all parties were treated fairly and came to a mutually satisfying agreement,” said GAA’s John Hyde. “We wish all involved much success.”
Having GAA handle the financial aspects of the deal freed Mr. Flaim and his partner to focus on another critical factor in a successful acquisition—integrating the culture of the two firms and bringing the acquired firm’s employees on board.
“As I noted, all of our employees coming from 21st Century are highly experienced, but we’re now helping them learn our policies and procedures by shadowing our employees,” Mr. Flaim noted.
The purchase of 21st Century Finishing is the latest in a series of acquisitions made by Mr. Flaim, who also owns Alladin Finishing in New York City. Perfect Finishing itself was formed through an acquisition, when Alladin Finishing purchased an existing print finishing company in Clifton.
“We evaluated the current staff, added our current management, hired top-notch production personnel, renamed the firm Perfect Finishing, and developed it into full-service finishing company we are today,” said Mr. Flaim.