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SGM Technologies Acquires United Group Printing

Graphic Arts Advisors (GAA), Mountain Lakes, NJ-based strategic financial advisory and consulting firm devoted exclusively to the graphic communications industry, announced today that integrated marketing firm SGM Technologies, Dallas, Texas, has acquired United Group Printing, a commercial printing company also based in the Dallas metro area. GAA represented United in the outreach process, negotiations with prospective buyers, and final agreement with SGM. Mitch Evans, GAA Director, served as lead advisor.

Jeff Rupley, owner of United, was seeking an exit strategy for his firm that would ensure his employees would retain their positions and his customers would continue to receive uninterrupted quality service.

“As the commercial printing industry segment has stabilized over the past couple of years, some owners are seeking buyers who will acquire their company and continue operations in the existing facility rather than have to close and sell as a ‘tuck-in’ to another printing company,” noted Mark Hahn, GAA Managing Director. “Often, as was the case with United, printing company owners also own the real estate. Therefore, monetizing that asset is also important, either through a long-term lease or an outright sale of the facility. Through this agreement, we achieved Jeff’s goals of selling the printing operation on an ‘as-is, where-is’ basis, along with the sale of his real estate to SGM Technologies.”

“Jeff is thrilled that all his employees are staying on and continuing to serve his customers and extremely gratified that the business he and they have built together will now combine with SGM to become a larger and stronger organization,” said GAA’s Mitch Evans.

United is a combination offset / digital printing firm with full prepress and finishing capabilities. However, like many printing companies in today’s competitive marketplace, Rupley knew that to continue to succeed, he would need to invest in new technologies and software. “Our business was doing well, with steady revenue and increases in profitability and we were well-position for growth,” said Rupley. “However, I’ve run this company for 12 years and been in the printing industry for more than 20 years. I felt it was time for me to explore other options and spend more time with family.”

For SGM Technologies owner Garrett Graves, acquiring United provided a prime opportunity to add offset printing and expanded digital printing to his company’s integrated marketing services, which include a full range of print and digital services, as well as collateral storage, website development, fulfillment and mailing, and mailing list management.

“Print may be a smaller spend as a percentage of total marketing dollars than it once was, but companies are still printing,” noted Graves. He adds that “there are many solid offset printing companies on the market whose owners are aging and seeking ways to divest their operations.”

The purchase of United was one step in what Graves terms a “very aggressive growth plan” for SGM. Pointing to significant synergies between SGM Technologies and United, Graves noted that “print customers need digital solutions and digital customers need traditional printing. An effective marketing program for our customers is one that sends a consistent message about the company’s value proposition throughout all their media—printed handouts, digital and print ads, social media, website content and so on. We serve small-to-medium sized businesses whose owners are too busy to go to multiple vendors for all of those services, so we serve as a one-stop-shop for integrated print and digital marketing campaigns. Acquiring United and its considerable offset and digital print capabilities helps us strengthen our offering even further.”

United’s Rupley is currently serving as a consultant to SGM, helping implement new estimating and prepress software to enable a more streamlined workflow. He credits GAA’s Mitch Evans and Mark Hahn with guiding him through the sale of his company and real estate—from finding a suitable buyer to finalizing an agreement that was a win-win for both parties. “They used their expertise to structure a deal that perfectly aligned with my goals for myself and my company,” he said.

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