Transaction achieves strategic objectives for both companies while strengthening their value to customers
Offset printing and mailing company Dual Print & Mail, Cheektowaga, NY, has merged with Pittsburgh, PA-based Knepper Press, a full-service firm offering offset and digital printing, mailing, and warehousing and fulfilment. 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 Dual Print & Mail in the transaction. GAA Director Mitch Evans served as lead advisor, with GAA Managing Director Mark Hahn providing support.
With the merger, Knepper Press, which has the largest share of the printing market in the Pittsburgh area, gains entry into a contiguous geographic area in western New York. “To stay strong in today’s shrinking printing market, you have to increase your share of a smaller pie. Merging with Dual Print & Mail puts us in a solid position to do that,” said Knepper Press co-owner Ted Ford. In addition, Knepper Press recently acquired the book of business of the commercial printing division of The Buffalo News. Having a facility in the greater Buffalo area strengthens the firm’s ability to service that customer base.
Prior to merging with Knepper Press, Dual Print & Mail was owned by Compu-Mail, a digital direct mail printing company in the greater Buffalo, NY, area. Compu-Mail co-owner Michael Vitch acquired Dual Print & Mail in 2014, a time when Compu-Mail direct-mail clients were ordering large print quantities that would be more efficient to produce with offset capabilities. Since then, however, the direct mail industry has continued to transition to shorter, highly targeted runs with more personalization. “We found we didn’t need in-house sheetfed capabilities,” noted Vitch. “However, we will continue to go to Dual Print & Mail as a local resource for our offset printing needs.”
“The merger of Dual Print & Mail with Knepper Press is a great example of a transaction that accomplishes the goals of two successful and growing companies,” said GAA’s Hahn. “Compu-Mail, the former owner of Dual Print & Mail, will continue to use the sheetfed and web offset printing capabilities of Dual as a valued supplier. Knepper Press gains a second robust manufacturing platform in upstate New York.”
“The owners of both companies knew each other and respected each other’s firms. Also, both printers had a similar equipment profile, so there was an added level of comfort there,” recalled GAA’s Evans. “Based on that, Knepper was the preferred buyer and made an offer in a reasonable timeframe, so GAA did not need to launch a broad outreach process for Dual Print & Mail. However, we discreetly contacted several potential buyers and prepared a comprehensive and professional marketing packet so we would be ready to go to the larger market if and when we had to.”
“Graphic Arts Advisors gave us wonderful guidance from the time we started thinking about selling Dual Print & Mail to the ultimate merger with Knepper Press,” said Vitch. “When we acquired Dual, it was not doing well financially. GAA advised that we get it on a solid financial footing before offering it for sale. We took that advice, completed a turnaround that returned the firm to profitability, and provided Knepper with a financially solid company.”
Knepper Press and Dual Print & Mail will continue to operate as two companies in terms of customer service, sales, and billing. “Customers of both companies will receive the high level of seamless customer service they’ve come to expect,” said Ford. “At the same time, we will leverage the capabilities of both companies to achieve synergies that increase efficiency.”