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Graphic Arts Advisors Announces Acquisition of Direct Mail Solutions by Envision3

Envision3, Bloomingdale, IL, a full-service offset and digital printing, packaging, mailing, and finishing company, has acquired mailing services, variable printing and fulfillment provider Direct Mail Solutions (DMS), Carol Stream, IL. 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 DMS in the sale.

GAA Director Mitch Evans served as lead advisor on the transaction, with GAA Managing Director Mark Hahn providing support.

The acquisition reflects a growing industry trend toward firms providing a full roster of services rather than focusing on one or two capabilities. “As more and more printers add mailing services and lettershops add digital printing capabilities, a convergence is occurring,” noted GAA’s Hahn. “Acquisition is often the best and fastest route for printing companies seeking to build deep mailing services expertise, and we are seeing continued transactional activity along those lines.”

Jerry Gately, co-owner of DMS, recalled that “we had limitations as a lettershop. Although we provided digital printing, many of our customers were going elsewhere for commercial printing and then coming to us for final fulfillment. In today’s market, it’s very difficult to operate as a silo operation. Now, we can provide one-stop shopping and fill all their needs in one place.”

Envision3 offered mailing services before acquiring DMS. However, the acquisition provided them with additional staff with extensive experience in mailing, as well as a customer base with a need for mailing services. “We acquired some of DMS’ equipment as part of the purchase, which expanded our capacity,” said Kevin Franz, Envision3 President and owner. “More importantly, however, our own state-of-the-art, high-speed inserter and other equipment can process longer runs more efficiently than DMS had been doing. That gives us the opportunity to sell more volume and more deeply to DMS’ customer base because we can complete their mailing jobs more quickly, while also offering the full gamut of printing services.”

Seamlessly transitioning DMS’ operations to Envision3’s Bloomingdale facility with minimal disruption was important to both Gately and Franz. “Having all of our employees move to Envision3 was a big benefit, since they know our customers and how to best meet their needs,” noted Gately. “After the sale was finalized on a Friday, we closed down operations at the DMS facility that day, moved into Envision3 over the weekend and started full operations Monday morning. Much of the credit for the smooth transition goes to Kevin Franz and his team for all their prep work in making room and having everything in the building ready to go for both equipment and people.”

Gately credits GAA with bringing Envision3 to his and his partner’s attention as a potential buyer and with helping to facilitate the transaction. “We had looked at other companies to help us in this process, but GAA knows and understands the industry best and has contacts throughout the industry,” he noted. “They have a proven system in place so that, although our agreement with Envision3 was customized to meet both companies’ needs, a number of steps in the process were ‘plug and play,’ which made everything more efficient.”

“Our client had a tight timeframe that was tied to a sale of the facility in which DMS had been operating, as well as the company,” said GAA’s Evans. “We put together a targeted list of prospective buyers based on our relationships and research, generating great interest from several potential buyers. Envision3 responded quickly, made a good offer for the business, was willing to accommodate the sellers’ need to divest their facility, and progressed to a quick close and transition of the business.”

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